Organizational Roadblocks

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There are as many organizational roadblocks to implementing lean six sigma as there are kinds of organizations. Some types of general organization road blocks include:

  • Lack of buy-in from senior management.
  • Changing objectives.
  • Difficulty securing necessary resources for the project.
  • Ambiguous prioritization of the project or prioritizing the improvement project below others.

Flat / Horizontal Organizations

  • Minimizes departmentalization.
  • Decisions are forced to lower org levels – leads to inconsistency.
  • Loss of key people can have a negative impact on the organization
  • Resources may be too sparse and the organization may be unduly dependent upon the values of single individuals.

Tall / Vertical Organizations

  • Lower level decisions are reviewed by those above them.
  • Communications & decisions are slow.
  • A lot of time and effort required to have people respond.
  • New org levels are added to handle details of decision making – sometimes becoming impediments.
  • Feedback is filtered.
  • Upper management is out of the loop on localized quality or customer issues. Sometimes festers into major issues.
  • Can be too bureaucratic.

Functional Organizations

  • People become extremely specialized in their field. Well-rounded people difficult to find.
  • Coordination of projects can be more difficult than in the flat org.
  • Danger of sub-organization values becoming an echo chamber.

Product Organizations

  • May be duplication of effort / services.
  • Individuals may lack overall corporate focus since they are concerned with the smaller piece of the pie.
  • Segments are better at meeting competitor challenges.
  • Sometimes parts of the company compete against each other for resources and / or consumers.

Geographic Organizations

  • Similar as functional.
  • Undesirable regional or nationalistic cultural differences may arise.

Matrix Organizations

  • Specialists report to 2 or more people. Violates the 1 boss rule.
  • Difficult for the specialist to decide which boss to respond to first.
  • Competing values.
  • Occupational subcultures.

Team Base Organizations

  • Employee selection process is much more stringent.
  • Management time is directed at employee training and support.
  • Not for organizations that are encountering severe short-term threats.
  • Loss of some middle managers (when transitioning to team-based) would mean tremendous loss of knowledge.
  • Many teams can spawn multiple subcultures that compete with overall culture of the company.
  • Can be loss of clarity in business goals due to numerous communication channels.
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