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Hit it until you hit (or, use PDCA!)

I like the phrase 'hit it until you hit it'. It sits well in my mind about the practical usage of the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check and Act).

Our improvements rarely work out the first time around and this mantra reminds me of this.

What approach do you use?
I've worked with many businesses in the past who adopt a 'hit it once and then forget about it' approach.

That doesn't work out too well. It demotivates the people trying and certainly doesn't do anything to improve the culture of the business (from a change perspective).

Eventually these businesses realise that a different strategy needs to be followed; the proper usage of the PDCA cycle prevails.

To recap PDCA:

  • Plan: A proper plan is created (see lesson 3 of Making It Happen!).
  • Do: Effective action is undertaken.
  • Check: After a while, or at the end of the planned actions, the results are reviewed.
  • Act: A decision is made to consolidate the gains, continue as before or to tweak the strategy (see lesson 5 of Making It Happen).
Good businesses do the Check and Act elements, businesses poor at managing change give up after a stint of the Do element.

I have changed tack numerous times, trying to find the recipe that works, so that a result can be achieved.

Be confident, don't worry about the 'failures', continuous improvement is all about experiments and some will need a little more tweaking than others.

If you have doubts about undertaking continuous improvement, because it isn't always straightforward, just remember that if it was easy it would already have been done by now.

Stick with the wiggly road that can be continuous improvement, the results are worth it!

Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' online course for improving continuous improvement skills.

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