People –Empower your employees to think about how they do their work and allow them to align their work processes with customer value and your company’s goals. Do all employees know what your customers value? Does everyone understand your company’s goals? Is process improvement a company goal?
If employees make commitments to process improvement, they will feel more ownership for the outcomes. Commitments bind you “emotionally or intellectually to a course of action,” and isn’t that what you want employees to do with process improvement? Ask your employees to set commitments instead of objectives.
Technology – Every year technology changes and it just keeps getting better and better. The application of technology to automate a process can quickly demonstrate improvements. While it’s part of the mix, it does not stand alone. Place your effort on the ten steps to BPI first to make certain you spend your technology investment in the right areas.
In summary, all three work together, but if forced to pick one I would have to go with culture because culture trumps process all the time. You will find building a culture of process improvement more sustainable (because people and technology changes), and eventually it will become part of your company’s DNA. Just think of the power your company can gain if all employees think of continuous process improvement every day.