In a mass-production world, the key drive is towards standardisation.
This makes sense if there is little complexity and variety in the nature of the demand, and the adoption of ‘standards’ does not prevent improvement.
Having standard processes and products can help ensure high quality, for example in manufacturing, but it can also lead to a work ethic in which ‘working to a standard’ is accompanied by the abdication of any responsibility to the improvement of a standard.
This mindset is the biggest constraint on creativity, innovation and workplace ownership.
We advocate a world in which employees work beyond standards, breaking through to higher levels of performance while continually raising the bar.
As regards employees, there is a changing view of how to gauge their capabilities. In a mass-production environment, their performance is often measured by how many items the produce, sold or shipped.
Much more important however is the capabilities of those individuals and departments: do they have the means of production overall, and what is the capability of the operation?
It is actually much more productive for managers to spend time in developing the capability of their organisation than in trying to push it to meet production targets.
Capability of means is more important than output. For example, if you were asked to drive 50 miles when your car had only one gallon of fuel and a capability of 30 miles to the gallon, it would be silly to set out on the journey.
The ability to measure capability is more important than the ability to measure output.