Top Down or Bottom Up?

arrowsIs process improvement best accomplished Top-Down or Bottom-Up?  The answer is Yes.   The purpose of “Top Down” engagement is to provide a vision, goals, leadership, barrier removal and most importantly a passion for excellence.   Leadership sets the tone and gets folks engaged.  Improvement ideas?  The best are usually bottom-up.  Why?  Because the folks closest to the work are the ones who have to live with outdated and inefficient processes everyday.  Who better to come up with ideas for how to improve the process?   Teach front line employees some basic improvement tools, add a good facilitator and “taadaa”, you will be amazed at not only the ideas that are introduced but the excitement that it generates.   When employees come up with ideas and solutions, they own it and are bought into its success.   When introducing a “4 Disciplines of Execution” process, I witnessed this first hand.  Employees ran the process, identified the issues, owned the solution and tracked their success.  They built their own scorecard and worked together to drive significant change.  The results were astounding  and the employees had fun – go fig!  So if you have having a tough time getting things fixed, take a hard look at your approach and make sure it engages everyone from top to bottom.