Skip to main content

Structuring your improvement team for increased effectiveness

Many businesses have continuous improvement teams set up. They are without hierarchy and free to organise themselves.

In many cases they work extremely well.

On the other hand, these teams sometimes fail to generate the results that people expect.

What do you do when the results aren't forthcoming?
Let me offer you a simple strategy that has helped numerous businesses.

Review the talents and strengths of each team member and then create some loose roles according to their strengths.

Most improvement teams lack clarity, everyone is expected to muck in but unless you have some natural leaders (which isn't the point of most of these teams) everyone being equal doesn't always work.

When I say loose roles I am referring to people taking the lead when the team get to certain points.

For example, some people are better at:

  • Recording and managing actions.
  • Analysing data.
  • Presenting ideas.
  • Facilitating discussions.
  • etc...
Aligning the team members strengths to the situations it will experience means that the right people in the team can help out in the right ways at the right time.

If your improvement team(s) are struggling to produce the results then this approach is worth exploring.

Clarity is essential to effective continuous improvement.




Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' online course for discovering simple change management strategies.

Popular posts from this blog

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? …

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…

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!'.