The top 10 tips for a successful continuous improvement
1. Continuous Improvement is the ongoing effort of engagedemployees and improvement teams to improve information,materials, products, services or processes.The first step in establishing a continuous improvement mindset is to recognize the problem. That is, recognize the fact thatyour organization does not have or could do quite betterexhibiting a continuous improvement mind set.
2. Adaptability and an action oriented leadership team are inherentcomponents of a continuous improvement culture. Resistance to changeexists in all organizations to a degree and it must be recognized for what itis, an impediment to improvement.
3. Many people advocate Kaizen oriented thinking and behavior wherecontinual small, incremental improvements provide tremendous benefits inperformance and end results achieved over time. Others advocate aCrossing the Chasm mind set where drastic change is introduced completelyreplacing inefficient execution rather than slightly improving upon it. In acontinuous improvement culture, there is room for both approaches.
4. Process-centric thinking does not have to be overly complex. Sometimes, allit takes is a thoughtful examination to uncover significant areas forimprovement. Rather than tolerating mistakes and repeat errors, facilitateprocess-centric thinking to continually improve, correct, and overcomeexecution difficulties.
5. Expect and overcome resistance to change with ongoing training, reinforcementof expected behaviors, and recognition of those who are learning and doing.
6. Ensuring a penalty-free exchange of ideas is beneficial to both the giver andthe receiver of new ideas and approaches and will ensure a safe two wayexchange of thoughts and ideas.
7. A consistent and structured approach for project identification and executionwill provide the organization with the ability to identify, select, and managecontinuous improvement projects. It should also provide post-closing processsteps to continually refine the improvement project methodology and to actupon the lessons learn from the project effort.
8. It is not possible to improve what is not measured. Determine in advancethe approach and techniques to be used in measurements. Scorecards canbe useful to monitor the key performance indicators of processes thatsupport capability and performance.
9. Ensure regular communications to foster collaborative interactions amongleaders, stakeholders, and practitioners at all levels. Whereneeded, schedule face to face meetings and where not needed, use thecommunication and collaboration tools and capabilities of the enterprise tokeep all members updated and involved.
10. Establish the core values that comprise the continuous improvementculture such as a focus on supporting the customer, teamwork throughoutthe extended enterprise, receptivity to evolving continuous improvementconcepts and tools. These core values will create a sense of belonging and acommon vision for all involved.