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Tolerance - a Killer of Innovation and Improvement

Being tolerant is a good thing in many situations, such as when people are in training and learning the ropes.

However, when we are tolerant of sub-standard working practices, the non-adoption of great ideas and failing to subscribe to formality within businesses this is a different matter. Tolerance in these situations can kill our ability to improve and innovate how we operate and perform.

I recall a business that I did some work for where the staff didn't seem bothered about the poor quality of the products. Customer returns were a part of their normal life and apparently it had carried on for years. I was only invited into the business because one of their managers had decided to no longer tolerate this situation.

Another client of mine was tearing his hair out because of the poor on time delivery performance of the business. For years this hadn't seemed to bother the business, but this particular manager was relatively new in position and was sick of lying to customers on a daily business by making false promises of new delivery dates (that he knew the business couldn't achieve). I've been there too, and frankly it sucks until you decide 'not on my watch'.

I can reel off countless examples of other situations where it has taken someone to say 'I've had enough' to do something about it. Poor IT connectivity, having the wrong tools, not being satisfied with the business' data, poor follow through by senior managers, the mass not following of management instructions... and the list goes on.

Will you get intolerant with the status quo and make a shift in your levels of performance?

The tolerance of poor working practices is all around us. If we want to raise our levels of productivity then we need to raise our standards and spot the things that just aren't OK any more. If we can do this we can then prioritise the actions necessary to raise our game and enjoy the spoils of having better day to day operations; increased profit, fewer problems and happier customers.

Are you ready to get intolerant?

Giles



About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.

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