Continuous Improvement

We all recognize industry buzz-words when we read them and that often makes our brains shutdown momentarily. I will admit to having the same reaction at times. However, don’t be too quick to dismiss these concepts as out-of-date or useless. Instead consider changing your mindset and taking a few minutes of your time to decide if, when properly deployed, can make a significant impact on your performance and/or the performance of your company.

Continuous Improvement is a valuable concept and should be central to regular conversations concerning performance. The idea can take on two roles. One, what should we be doing and two, what should we stop doing. Both can improve performance.

To improve doesn’t necessarily require a huge change in direction or process. Improvements can come in all forms of process change from small to large. The benefit is to be on the look-out for ways to improve and to not be satisfied with the current level of success. Seems like common sense and yet can be so difficult.

The difficulty often arises from being so close to the current operation or processes. You have probably already fixed the glaring issues and now things seem to be running smoothly. The challenge is to find the smaller issues and make course corrections before they become major problems. You may need to get fresh eyes on the process that might see something you have missed. Often the line employees will have good ideas. Managers from other departments might add a fresh perspective. You might even need to hire a consultant with experience to improve thought processes, implement data collection and define training that can take your company to the next level.

Why is continuous improvement so important? I believe the concept is “if you aren’t moving forward, you are losing ground”. You need to be looking for ways to improve. Open yourself up to opportunities to get better. Don’t be hampered by the “not created here” syndrome. Be the change agent.

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