Help! No Management Support!

By Ron Pereira Updated on July 8th, 2011

Most will agree that having top management support is crucial to succeeding at any form of continuous improvement – lean, six sigma, TOC, etc.

But what happens when management isn’t behind the employees who are attempting to use lean and six sigma to improve processes?

Should the employees just give up? Possibly leave the company?

Or are there things they (the employees) can do to wake their leadership team up?

What do you think?

  1. Panu Kinnari

    July 19, 2011 - 6:18 am

    I have found that repeating yourself ad nauseam _without_ jargon will eventually get you the backing. This is, after all, commons sense. This ofcourse depends on how much you care for the organization you work for and if you have enough patience to see it through. I think change of scenery is also an option.

  2. Dale S.

    July 19, 2011 - 6:32 am

    It depends on what level the employee is who is not receiving the support of upper management. If it another member of management in a lower level, he or she can continue to quietly work on changing the mindset of those they can influence. They can form a “grass roots” movement, so to speak, of continuous improvement through their support of those who are trying to make a difference. This may need to be done somewhat quietly and subvertly, but once more value is created for the customer and the processes run more efficiently, then upper management support may come. This would have to be done in a way that would not incur additional costs that would draw the attention of the traditional accounting department. If these efforts fail to gain the desired support, then greener pastures are looked for before their career becomes stagnant or sidetracked.

    If the employee is more at the production level, then they usually simply give up, become disgruntled or cynical – sometimes with an attitude that they are going to only do what is absolutely necessary for the company. They often do something, either intentional or otherwise, which gets them in trouble with those in management. Basically, if the good employee was excited about continuous improvement and seeing the company become better, the lack of support turns them into somewhat a liability instead of the asset that they could have been. As I have heard many times before, “The attitude I have is the only one the company has given me.” Eventually, when the economy is good, these employees move on but unless something happens to help them overcome their negative attitude, they could carry with them for the rest of their working lives.

    Dale S.

  3. Tom

    July 19, 2011 - 8:46 am

    It’s a great way to learn how to get something done with no support. But in the long run it’s an exercise in futility. I’m sorry to say (and I mean that) if you want to really make progress and push the limits of Lean/Six Sigma you have to find a company that shares your enthusiasm and vision. Save your bloody forehead for people who care.

    • V. Karthik

      July 21, 2011 - 12:19 am

      I agree, we had an initiative for Lean which was being driven by a person in Sr. Mgmt. But, when he left, so did the momentum. Without anybody else to take up from where he left, it is difficult to make anything move. I have been pushing for 2 things, one being a Process Improvement project, and second being the overall program for Lean with a framework. Neither has progressed as it should have. This is since at the Sr. Mgmt level, they are not clear on which direction to take. Hence, my take, better focus on the direction the mgmt wants the org to go..!

  4. Ketan Dhruv

    August 29, 2011 - 9:31 pm


    I could understand only two scenario for some one who is working in some company.

    If you are seating in management Team than give support because these process improvement will help you in solving your problem. Continue to ask every one in your organisation about the initiative. Talk about initiative , give your time for initiative. then you will see the benefits.

    If you are working as an assocoate than support your process improvement leader.

    And if you are Process improvement Leader and you are not getting support from top management than ask your self because it is your problem.

    Start solving problem of your own, use all tools, techniques and method of your process improvement initiative. First you have to put Oxygen mask on your face before helping to others.

    People around you know the whole situation and will appritiate you once you have solve your problem.

    Just DO It.

    Ketan Dhruv.

    • june swatzell

      September 12, 2011 - 1:11 pm

      I agree with Ketan. I have to keep going and learning and implementing lean, with support or not. By doing it, I am an example. It’s just another challenge. Non technical founder, freak, grandma, wife of a starving artist. If its worth fighting for, its worth having.

  5. Nuala

    July 30, 2013 - 2:23 am

    I would wonder if Ketan has any actual experiene of this

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