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Continuous improvement ideas sometimes need a little peace and quiet

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.

If you are able to organise your day so that there is a small amount of 'protected thinking time' then take advantage of this to mull over problems, imagine better ways of working, or just to allow your brain to stop spinning. No meetings, no phone calls, no emails, no walking, no talking.

Encouraging your team to do the same can yield the same kind of benefits; the mind cools down from the frenetic pace for just a little while and often spits out a brilliant insight.

Deciding how you want to handle these ideas is the next challenge. Having the insight is one thing, putting it into practice is another. This is perhaps the first challenge to mull over!

Even a few minutes each week can make a real difference to how your business performs. After a few small victories you might find that this approach gains momentum - just strap yourself in before your business transforms rapidly!

If you feel that you have no time to generate ideas then I urge you to think up some ways that you could carve out even just a few minutes. Make that today's challenge; think up some strategies to get a few minutes thinking time and then try out your strategies!

And, if you want some free tools to help you with your continuous improvement activities then check out the free tools section of the Making It Happen toolkit.



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 improvement toolkit.

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

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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…