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The Ebb And Flow Of Continuous Improvement

I advocate making continuous improvement part of your daily / weekly work life. This I think should be something that most businesses should work towards if they aren't there already.

However, there are also times when things don't pan out quite as we have hoped to. Unfortunate circumstances, conflict inside the business or unforeseen problems. These take time away from the business and naturally makes it difficult to undertake continuous improvement activity.

There are other times when energies are higher. There are other events that can affect the motivation of your staff and this too can be considered.


So, the ebb and flow of the business can be mimicked by your continuous improvement projects. Sometimes you can be firing on all cylinders, and other times you may just be doing enough to keep things moving along. Continuous improvement doesn't have to be delivered at one speed.


There are two important principles at work here:
1 - Keep making progress, however fast that may be.
2 - Don't drop the habit, make sure that you can keep it ticking over until the time is right.



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.
To get your copy, just click on the button below and access the guide in just a few moments from now.



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…