H. James Harrington Responds:
The following is a brief synopsis of what I say in
my book, "Project Change Management" (McGraw-Hill,
Consultants are change agents; we are supposed to
be able to change the organizations in a positive
direction. If we don't accomplish this we are failures
and we should be fired.
Yes, that means 60 to 80 percent of the
consultants today should be fired. So, what does a good
consultant bring to the table?
proven technology-quality consultants have this one
understanding of the process that the technology will be
applied to- most
focus on the process.
Knowledge of what is required to excite the target
group impacted by the
- most quality consultants fail here
It is not enough to have great technology and
to understand the processes. It is like an engineer
releasing a complex new product without talking to
manufacturing; it just will not work. Consultants who
have not mastered a very structured Organizational Change
Management (OCM) approach will always have trouble
internalizing the change within the organization. The
quality consultants should not be teaching Statistical
Process Control (SPC) or problem solving; they should be
striving to change behavior patterns so that people will
want to use SPC tools and solve problems. There is a big
difference between these two objectives. Consultants need
to be change agents, not teachers. They need to modify
behaviors, not flowchart processes.
We hear a lot about Six Sigma in support and
service areas. I have yet to see an organization where
the use of statistics has brought about change in its
culture. Statistics do not change behaviors and quality
initiatives will only last when people change
Everyone is for change, "I think you should
change, they should change and my team should change. But
me-why should I change? Just look at how successful I
am!" Yes, everyone is for change as long as it does not
affect him or her, but quality initiatives affect
everyone. Everyone must change before the concept,
technologies, tools and approach can be internalized.
Without a well-applied OCM initiative that supports your
consulting effort, you are shortchanging your employer or
your client. All consultants must know how to apply
concepts like pain management, cascading sponsorship,
black holes and change mapping in order to call
themselves professional consultants. Being official
change agents is absolutely essential for consultants to
be able to look their manager or client in the eye when
accepting their paycheck.
H. JAMES HARRINGTON
has written seven books including the best-selling
"The Improvement Process," "Business Process
Improvement," and "Total Improvement Management:
The Next Generation in Performance Management."
Harrington is the CEO of The Performance Improvement
Network in Los Gatos, Calif. He is considered a leading
authority in process management.