Continuous Improvement - Start today ~ It will pay
When everyone in your organization sees continuous improvement as part of their job, a key result area of their job, you will create amazing wins.
An interest in improvement – Improvement consciousness, an interest in learning and exploring the unknown, the development of curiosity must be continuously encouraged.Developing the habit of questioning everything you do, asking:
- How can this be done easier, faster, safer?
- How can we cut costs in this part of our process?
- How can we take steps out of my part of our process?
- How can we do this better so it lasts longer and runs smoother?
- How can we make our handoffs seamless?
- How can we be more responsive to our customer’s needs?
Think of your departments as performance teams. These performance teams exist to perform their part of the process – create pulp in a paper mill, analyze blood in a medical clinic, compile depositions in a legal practice. When your performance teams see it as their responsibility to discover and adopt your industry’s best practices, you have true ownership, genuine empowerment. Your performance team will deliver consistently improving quality while minimizing costs to their downstream customers.
Performance teams take ownership and accept responsibility for the proficiency of their work area. Performance teams exist to study and improve their part of the overall process. Through this study and analysis, they continually improve their part of the work process. They look for and find ways to remove steps, eliminate staging time and costly delays of all kinds, cut costs, and improve the response times and quality of their output. These improvements are not optional. One of your key result areas is instilling this improvement consciousness as a part of the mindset of everyone in your organization. America is widely recognized as having the best managers in the world and this is why; creating improvement-minded associates is a natural part of your responsibility and part of an empowered culture.
You expect associates to explore avenues for improvement outside of your industry.
You study history, military tactics, sports, anthropology, economics, astronomy, chemistry, computer technology, nanotechnology, music and physics. You are adept at adapting, taking concepts from a seemingly desperate place and making them it fit into your world. All of your explorations are with an eye toward innovation for your organization’s future. You expect everyone to be “adept at adapting,” finding ways to make esoteric concepts fit the practical problems you and your customers face. You keep score of ideas generated. You look for and celebrate the heroes who bring you the craziest ideas, whose innovations fail, knowing that their next idea could be the win you are looking for.
The renaissance we have been waiting for is just around the corner. Breakthroughs that could make the Dotcom boom look small by comparison. Get ready, prepare yourself, or you and your team will miss the opportunity of a lifetime, the opportunity of a millennium.
So how do you do this? How will you create a culture where everyone sees, as a part of their job, continually improving the micro part of their process? This requires continuous improvement on your part as a leader. What changes must you make? You must be alert to every suggestion for improvement that comes your way, and when those ideas, in your opinion have already been tried or wouldn’t work, when you think these ideas are based on ignorance, follow these four steps:
- Bite your tongue
- Say “Thank You”
- Give associates more of the big picture, and as they continue to look for continuous improvement ideas, they will understand better the things that could work
And most important of all, when someone brings you an idea that can be implemented in their micro part of the process,
- Celebrate, provide recognition and celebrate!
Become a fan on Facebook
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Tweet with Larry on Twitter