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Continuous Improvement: Find A Friend

No one knows all of the answers.

Continuous Improvement can sometimes seem like a lonely place to be when you are making a decision on how to improve a process. That's exactly the time when it's good to 'find a friend'.

When there's more than just you there are a number of benefits. Apart from decreasing the isolation of making the change you can use the wisdom of others to generate additional ideas to make improvements.

Getting it wrong is a real concern of many who are both new and experienced with continuous improvement. Working alongside someone else can make this fear lessen and when it is combined with the PDCA cycle becomes part of the natural improvement activity.

Another great point is that we are all busy people. Having someone to work with on projects / strategies / ideas can help to keep your focus and speed up getting results. This is especially true when you have been through an (extra) busy period and you need to get back on track. The other person can keep the improvement work ticking over, or hook you back into the work (depending on your situation).

So, if you are trying to undertake changes on your own and find you are getting stuck, lost, or de-motivated then it might be time to find a buddy to work alongside with your projects. If you share a common desire for improvement then it might be the start of a great (and productive) friendship.

Giles Johnston
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes

P.S. For a simple team based approach to generating Continuous Improvement ideas, check out my book on the subject here.

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Want more time for your projects? Try the 'Hour of Pain'!

Do you find your day being broken up by interruptions, stopping you from getting on with your work?

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,

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…