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Getting Results Can Be Messy!

Many of my clients when I have first started working with them seem concerned with messy looking improvement projects. That's a natural reaction on two counts.

Firstly, we don't want messy projects on the whole. We want to have neat delineated projects with clear steps, milestones and outcomes. This doesn't often happen.

Secondly, projects don't often unveil their full range of tasks until we start taking action. We may be able to plan / predict the steps required for a project but unless we have done the same project before we end up having to guess the steps. Please plan your projects properly, don't miss this step out. But be prepared for the common reality that your later steps will be replaced as you go, once new knowledge is available to you.

When you look from the outside in (whether a business, project or something else) it usually looks organised, tidy and planned. When you look from the inside out it can look chaotic, confused and difficult. The grass usually looks greener elsewhere and it is no different with improvement projects.

Don't worry about the mess, worry about persisting to achieve the results.


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

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Continuous improvement projects often fall foul of this. The day can become so inefficient through the constant stopping and starting that we only just seem to have enough time to get the 'day job' completed.

I was in a meeting last week where this same issue cropped up. It also cropped up today. It's nothing new, but it is still a pain in the rear!

So, let me share with you an approach that has worked for my clients - the 'Hour of Pain!'.

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Free Continuous Improvement Guide

I have recently published a new free guide, with the title:
Six Quick Tips to Help Continuous Improvement Deliver Results Faster In the guide I share how to:
Use the continuous improvement cycle properly.Get projects moving, if they are slow to start or have stalled.Identify the 'biggest bang for your buck' when reviewing opportunities.Determine the level of change you need to achieve through your improvements.Flip staff grumbles and concerns into positive improvement actions.Increase the overall rate of progress on your projects. All of the tips are highly practical and are no-cost strategies.
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Enjoy reading,

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 i…