“One of all and all for one!”

Or, in the original French, “Tous pour un, un pour tous!”

In the story by Alexandre Dumas (1844), the three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, were joined by the musketeer-wannabee D’Artagnan, without whom the first three would have led very boring lives.

I was reminded of this the other day, when discussing the elements of a successful process improvement deployment. You will recognize the top three that were mentioned: focus on the customer; front-line engagement; structured methodology. I’m going to submit to you that the concept of the Three Musketeers can serve as a metaphor for those three. And, then, add the fourth (which you have already thought of anyway), which is committed leadership – without which, you will not be having many grand adventures in improvement.

So in your improvement experience, how many times have you gone into a project doing an assessment for these fourissues – whether the organization knows how to focus on the customer effectively, or not? Whether they treat their front-line workers as knowledge resources and Subject Matter Experts, or not? Whether they have, or are willing to adopt, a structured methodology and all that is implied? And, perhaps most importantly, whether the leadership is truly engaged and committed to process improvement as a way of life – or whether they just think it’s the next best thing to try? And, are these four elements integrated so that they can proclaim “One for all, and all for one?”

Please share your thoughts on this. How manyMusketeers do you have, where you work?

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