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Peeling An Onion – Management’s Challenge in Getting to the Root Cause of Slow Change

If you start on the outside of an onion and peel back one layer at a time, you find another layer underneath. After about 10 layers of onion skin are removed, you wonder if you are ever going to get to the center. Change is like that. You make one adjustment to a process and a problem surfaces that you did not know about. You address that problem and find something else underneath it. Many times the "something" is associated with people, not processes - what people believe, a new reason why choices are made that damage the culture or trust within the management team. Getting to the root cause can try your patience and often takes longer than you wish it would. 

Many problems and many barriers to change stem from one of two root causes - the freedom to speak about problems and management's reaction to a problem. The management team, not the workforce, are in charge of both of these causes. When management focuses on creating an environment where people feel free to speak about problems and where their reaction to "bad news" does not shut down future communications about problems, AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN to profit and culture. Ultimately, one of the big winners is management's credibility, which is so hard to rebuild once it is lost. If managment teams protect their credibility as they perform their daily functions, performance and culture will take care of themselves... AND... all of a sudden, there doesn't seem to be as many layers to the onion because management has learned the secret to rapid change.  

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