The Path to a 5S Behavior Change
Changing the behavior in an individual is one of the most difficult tasks in our nature. The path to a 5S behavior change is no different. Our built in stubbornness has a tendency to block out even the most obvious benefits associated with a change in behavior. It effects all phases of our life from our health to our occupation. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking or implement 5s, the road can seem extremely narrow at times.
There are several models of behavior change that are studied. One that is commonly used in health settings is the transtheoretical model (TTM). This model assumes that at any given time in the process of behavior change an individual is at one of the following stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, or maintenance. It also addresses an individuals readiness to act on a new behavior which can be extremely helpful when navigating the path to a 5S behavior change.
5S is the foundation of your lean building. More times than not, it’s the first phase of a lean transformation within an organization, which makes the path to a 5S behavior change that much more important. The TTM model might help you and your team get through the path and on the road to the lean transformation you seek.
Change is a process, not an event
- Precontemplation: Whether it’s a lack of motivation or lack of information, at this stage the employer has no conscious intention of making a change. They use excuses like “I’m only gonna be here a few more years, why change now?” Or “this doesn’t seem like it’s going to benefit anything I do around here so why bother?” This employee tends to disengage themselves from the event itself and would rather not spend the time it takes to educate themselves on the potential benefits 5S has to offer. There is hope for the precontemplator. They need the motivation and awareness to spark their interest. If you can relate the change to their specific interests and show them how a 5S mentality will have a direct benefit on them. For instance, if they can see how they can become more efficient and productive, they might be more willing to get motivated for other possibilities 5S has to offer them.
- Contemplation: At this stage, the employer has considered the possibility of change, but still have not fully committed to the idea. You might hear “5S seems like a good idea, but I’m comfortable doing things the way we do now.” The employer can see the benefits, but lacks the commitment for action. A helpful tip to get this employer over the hump is to give them a small task that involves the 5S method so that they can see the direct benefit for them and the task. Sometimes when 5S is presented as whole, change over it can be overwhelming. The contemplator sees the possibilities, but has trouble putting them into place. Breaking it down individually with small tasks might be just what the contemplator needs to get over the hump.
- Preparation: At this stage, the employer knows that the change is immanent, they believe they can do it and are preparing themselves for the change, say in a week or two. They have walked by the 5S station, they’ve read up on the materials, maybe even cleaned up their work area a bit. At this point they just need that extra nudge to fully engage themselves in the action. This should not take as much effort has in previous steps, but still needs a bit of a nudge to take action. The confidence is there, they just need to implement their new knowledge into a working process.
- Action: They employer is now fully committed and dedicated to change. Their workstation is clean, organized and in order. They are seeing the benefits first hand and have developed regular routines for their actions that directly correlate with the 5S process. At this point it is a good idea to engage with the employee to make sure they are not having any issues or have questions with the process. An employer can quickly go back to their old ways if they can’t get the help they need while taking action.
- Maintenance: Once your 5S process has been fully integrated and running for awhile you are now in the sustainment phase. This can be extremely difficult for some organizations to handle. As the initial ether wears off, employees can become stagnant and start revert back to their old ways if you back off your plan. Employers need reinforcement and reward for their actions. This reminds them how important 5S is to the organization and reward those who continue to work towards the ultimate goal.
Those who study changes in behavior do agree that sustained change is most likely when it’s self motivated and rooted in positive thinking. Both of which are not the easiest to address in the workplace. Employers all have their own unique way of thinking and reasons for motivation. So how do you create a universal transformation that fills the needs of everyone’s motivation and thinking?
Unfortunately, this seems to be the million dollar question that gets debated over time and time again. While nobody seems to have the one size fits all answer, there are plenty of good tips and methods that certainly help promote a change in behavior. Hopefully this quick insight into the TTM model and how it relates to the 5S process will help you on the path to a 5S behavior change.
The path to 5S can sometimes be a bumpy road. When navigated correctly however, can lead to a successful lean transformation with endless possibilities –Good Luck!