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Why you need to push for the root cause

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How serious are you about continuous improvement?

I get a lot of people tell me how serious they are about continuous improvement. It sounds like the right thing to say, doesn't it? And... there is a really simple way to determine how serious your business is about continuous improvement. Count the following: How many hours per week you and your team spend working on improvement activities? How many £ have you added to your bottom line because of your improvements? There are no right or wrong answers, but you'll know exactly whether you are serious about continuous improvement. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and embracing Kaizen. Giles is also the author of Effective Root Cause Analysis and ' What Does Good Look Like? ' .   Available from Amazon

Pare back your projects, if you aren't making progress

A question that I get asked a lot is: "How do I make progress if I just don't have the time?" It's a good question. Usually the person asking the questions has a lot on their plate and an ambition to implement lots of change all at once. My answer is to start paring back the number of projects you have on the go. Start to prioritise. Choose what will give you the biggest impact, for the least amount of effort, in the shortest time. If you park a few projects and you still aren't getting results, keep reducing the number, until you get to one project. This should be the single most important project you have in your list of opportunities. This is a project that will make a real difference. Available from Amazon Divert your attention and resources at this project until it is done. Get help from your team, your colleagues, your customers and suppliers... get help to get it done. And, if you have chosen wisely you'll start to gain some time back, so you can start

My new book is free this weekend!

My new book is free to download (Kindle version) this weekend . Specifically, it is free from the 13th of January 2023 to the 17th January 2023. I wrote it for business managers and owners that are fed up of being stuck in Groundhog Day! I wanted to challenge the thinking of this group about how routines are defined and used within their organisation. Most organisations have underdeveloped routines. They usually apply routines solely to the lower levels of an organisation. But what about the Board? What about the senior management team? Routines don't have to be rigid. You don't have to lose flexibility, creativity or talent. But, you can do something to stop you getting in your own way! If this rings a bell with you, then get hold of your free copy this weekend. Alternatively, if  Kindle isn't your thing, you can purchase a copy of the paperback from the same page . I hope that you get some good ideas from this short book (it has taken me three goes to condense the informa

Avoid mistakes with your SOPs!

SOPs ( Standard Operating Procedures ) help everyone in a business. They help to clarify your own thoughts, if you are writing them. They help others to understand the expectations, safe effective methods and what has been agreed previously. For new starters, they help to speed up the training process. So, why don't so many people embrace this tool? I'd love to know the answer, but if you find yourself in this situation let me give you a few pointers. Capture the information any way you see fit. If you have an existing format that works, use it, otherwise make sure you capture the information in a way that makes sense to you. Make the information is understandable. Photos and images are great. Ensure the information is accessible. Get them off your desktop and into the hands of those using the information. Embrace the feedback. If the readers are confused, simplify the material. I heard the other day that a big mistake in a company I know has happened again. Guess what? The fir

If it's broken, please improve it!

I visited a client last week and asked to join their production meeting. It turned out that the meeting had been cancelled. After a little probing I found out that the meeting wasn't satisfying the owner's requirements. Available from Amazon So, here's the question.... Could it have been repaired? The meeting was broken, but it was there for a reason. It had a purpose and it added value to the business. The owner acknowledged this. Pressures are on everyone at the moment, but dumping the meeting rather than fixing it? A question I ask all my clients is ' what does good look like? '. We debated this, my client and I. There were clearly a lot of good things that this meeting did. There were a handful of things this meeting didn't do. So, what did good look like? Quickly we were able to define some clearer guidance for the attendees. They now all know what they need to bring to their meeting and what responses need to be prepared in advance. My client even embraced

C'mon! Just write the SOP!

We all know that we need to write things down. Available from Amazon This could be meeting actions, objectives, ideas for the future... or the knowledge we have in our heads. Let me focus on the last point, knowledge. For many organisations, this means capturing our experience so that others can use it. If you find your business growing then this is critical. You can't use telepathy! Often referred to as Standard Operating Procedures (or, SOPs), defining the one best way to do something is a great way to share knowledge in your organisation. But, why do so many people not bother to do this? Here are a few of the common issues I hear on my travels: They think it will take too long to write. They are worried that they'll get it wrong. Why bother? No one will read them. I've not done this before. Let's review. You don't have to spend hours writing SOPs. Even a few bullet points will move you in the right direction. If you are worried about getting the information wron