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What to do when real life doesn't line up with your continuous improvement plans

How many times have you tried to make an improvement in your business and watch it come to nothing?

For many of us real life doesn't resemble our plans. One of the common issues I see is that the way that we want a task to be organised on paper is difficult in reality. The frequent result from this situation is that the improvement grinds to a halt.

So, how do you overcome this situation?

Firstly, accepting that this is quite normal is a good place to start. When you move from 2D (paper) to 3D (reality) the translation might not always be perfect.

Secondly, be willing to learn from your experiences. Embracing the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act) cycle is a good strategy here. Over time you will become more effective at deploying change, if you learn from your earlier experiences.

Thirdly, approach your improvement from the principles you are trying to deploy. Let me give you an example here to underline this point.

Get your copy from Amazon today

I sat in on a client's meeting th…

Continuous Improvement Success Comes in Cans!

As I drove between clients yesterday I caught part of a BBC Radio 4 programme. The programme's callers were speaking about how disability had suddenly changed their lives.

Listening to the courage and tenacity of the callers was inspiring. One caller in particular caught my attention.

She had been talking about all of the obstacles she had overcome as she tried to regain her independence. There had been a theme through the last few calls around not waiting for other people to hand 'things' on plates. She quoted her mother:

"Success comes in cans!"

She carried on by saying that so many people talk about all the reason that they can not do something rather than finding a way to do something. Her point was that the solutions are there, just the attitude needed to shift.

This resonated with me because of the work I am involved with. There are always a million reasons why something can not happen but it is the results that count.

Some people will find a way and other w…

New book - Effective Root Cause Analysis

My new book is now out...

If you have ever wondered if there is more than meets the eye when it comes to root cause analysis then the answer is "yes!".

This book will show you how a couple of simple twists to 5 Why and Fishbone Diagrams can yield some huge changes to the performance of your business.

Better still, if you ask the right kinds of questions your own personal performance will dramatically improve.

The book includes some real world case studies so you can see exactly how powerful these tools can be when applied with the right mindset and approach.

I have not written a book for nerds... I have written a book that is for business managers and owners that are sick and tired of the control and performance of the business not being where they want it to be.

You can get your copy now from Amazon - click here.

Enjoy,

Giles

About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. G…

Continuous Improvement; direction and progress is more important than perfection!

When I speak to managers about their continuous improvement programmes there is a common concern. ‘Am I doing it right?’ is the question that they often ask me. There seems to be a common belief that there is a right way to do continuous improvement. There isn’t. There are lots of ways to make it better, but there isn’t a single one right way to carry out continuous improvement.

Note – over time you will likely find ways that work well for your organisation in terms of how you manage change. This can become your one best way to implement continuous improvement projects. But if you haven’t got there yet, don’t worry! The Standard Operating Procedure for making change happen in your business can come later.

A path with unexpected turnsOne of the joys of continuous improvement is the learning that can take place. The journey is full of twists and turns. People are unpredictable and that can bring with it new ideas and difficulties. 
Learning from these as you undertake your continuous im…

7 Ways to Speed up Continuous Improvement

All the business leaders that I speak to want continuous improvement to happen quickly. The opposite is what usually happens, so what is going wrong?
Getting the recipe right for your business might take some time, but here are seven tips that you can apply to your business quickly today to make a notable difference. The list isn’t exhaustive but will give you some practical actions you can share with your colleagues.
1. Make the plans visible A lot of businesses will keep their walls clear and their improvement action plans on their computers. It looks neat and tidy, and I understand why people do it, but having the plans in people’s faces makes a huge difference.
The more often you see the plans the more likely you are to talk about them and the more likely it is that you will do something about it.
Whether you choose to use a big screen, a whiteboard or a print out it does not matter. Keep the plans visible and in ‘harm’s way’ of being looked at.
2. Talk about the improvement acti…

Do your team really know what they should be doing?

I have had numerous conversations with  numerous businesses over the past month about under performance within their business' processes. They haven't been achieving the results that they had hoped for and don't seem to be too happy about what their staff have been up to. It was pretty much the same conversation repeated for each business I spoke with.

When I responded to these businesses I asked them about the clarity their team had about their roles. I was interested to find out what each individual business leader had done to make sure that the requirements of their processes, the business' needs and their own requirements had been passed on effectively. Having clear expectations in terms of activity, performance and deliverables is key to ensuring that your processes are being executed in the most effective manner. Well executed processes usually lead to good results if the process has been designed to be effective and efficient.

If you spell out exactly how you wa…