This is a question I often pose to my clients. Many businesses will organise their standardised daily meetings around a slot in their diary that suits the people attending, but not necessarily the business.
Do you find that the workloads in your business are becoming more volatile? Do you find that what your business was used to doing on a regular basis and what it does now aren't the same? Many businesses are finding themselves with a lot more variety on their order books, especially in terms of how quickly customers want / expect things and the mix of the orders. So, how can you handle this?
Do you find that your continuous improvement projects are progressing as quickly as you would hope? If you're not, it might be worth considering what time of day you undertake your improvement activity.
We all know that if you change a business process you should change the procedures to match, don't we? When we are being formal about the change this is easy to do. When we are trying out new ideas this can lead to inconsistencies in how we update our formal procedures, unless we are prepared to handle this situation.
We're faced with choices every day, and many of those are related to the improvement of our how our business operates. With each choice we hopefully are able to choose from a range of options, not just the choice of do nothing versus one alternative, During the last week I have seen two different situations where the right choice was being avoided because it didn't seem to be viable at that point in time.
When we re-design our processes it can be easy to get carried away. New ideas, new changes and new opportunities are all around. How do you keep your enthusiasm under control, just long enough, so that you end up with a really good new process design?
Many of us have to work with others when it comes to continuous improvements . We know what we want in our heads, but in many cases the results just don't match what we're thinking. Asking for what you want can feel like an art at times, but if you get it right it can really accelerate how much change you can make in a period of time.
Our business processes often stay the same, unchallenged if they are producing the results that they were designed for... but never reaching their full potential. So, what happens when you ask one of your colleagues what they think about your processes?
Often we don't know exactly how we are going to make an improvement happen . We know the principle that we are going to follow, and we understand the general improvement activities that we need to undertake, but after that we can get a bit lost. A lot of people get stuck at this point, and their projects stall. It doesn't have to be like this.
When you are making changes in your business you will often have some hard metrics that you will monitor , to see if the changes are working out the way that you want them to. This approach, which is sound, can be complemented by the use of a human barometer.... What is a human barometer?
I have just uploaded a schedule for the Making It Happen toolkit. This schedule will allow you, or your business, to sequence the tools to create a structured year of continuous improvement training and implementation.
To help you understand more easily what modules are within the Making It Happen toolkit I have now changed the login process so that you can view all of the module headings before you join. Access the free improvement tools here
The age old strategy of 'under promise and over deliver' is one that often goes wrong, doesn't it? Have you seen it go wrong in your business? For example - a customer is chasing you for an update on a late order and you give them your best delivery prediction.... only to watch it fall apart and witness your customer getting more and more irritated. Not only are they now angry at you / your business, you're now feeling less than brilliant. So how about these three pointers, should you find yourself in the same position?
One of my clients was struggling; their on time delivery performance was achieved through blood sweat and tears. They wanted their situation to be different . So, we looked at how they handled their orders and identified a simple change that was right in front of them.
When do you get your best continuous improvement ideas ? Do you get them in the middle of the busy workday, or do you get them during a quieter period of contemplation? Many of us get our flashes of inspiration when the working day calms down... and we need to take advantage of this.
We make things 'normal' don't we? The process that doesn't just quite work, the people who won't do what is asked of them, the tools that don't work... After a while we make them normal, We say to ourselves "that's the way it is..." and we put up with our current results!