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Continuous Improvement Is All Around Us

Some businesses haven't grasped the idea of continuous improvement including a progression of small incremental changes.

These businesses don't do continuous improvement, they do one off improvements. Their improvements are small in number but large in terms of change. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.

This is OK, I wouldn't dream of condemning this approach; after all, it is just an approach.


But, there are improvements all around - small and large. A simple conversation with a colleague can bring forth a whole range of improvement opportunities. Some will be quick to implement and give great benefits.

If you have ever read up on the subject of 'Kaizen' you will know that it is more than just another word for continuous improvement. It's focus on tiny steps helps many people along their journey to make improvements for their business.

On of my client's mentioned my touch typing ability the other day. They thought it was strange that I could do it, my response was that this was an improvement in my particular world (and probably for anyone who uses a keyboard during their day to day work!). I spend a significant portion of my time with correspondence and writing blog posts like this one. Why wouldn't I want to upgrade my ability to perform this task and in the process save myself a considerable amount of time.

Continuous improvement opportunities are all around us. Our ability to recognise them, capture them, evaluate them and then execute them is the trick. Continuous improvement should be, after all, continuous - and with an abundance of ideas and opportunities at our finger tips there is no reason why this cannot be the case.

So, if your continuous improvement activities are still focused on a few occasional large 'innovation' projects then it might also benefit you to see what else you could do with the abundance of smaller opportunities that are all around you.


Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering

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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,

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…