Tuesday, 20 September 2016

What's 'one better' than that?

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.

Apply different strategies to make change happen

We don't have to complete our continuous improvement projects in one fell swoop.

It is perfectly acceptable to to nibble at an improvement, learn from our results, and then choose what we are going to nibble next.

The question that is posed in the title of this post is a simple one that can prove to be incredibly effective in this situation.

Just looking for the next single step, that will deliver a slightly better result than what you have currently, is all you need in many cases.

One small step after another small step can really change your business' performance if you keep going.

Small steps can lead to big jumps

And, after a few small steps you might get a flash of inspiration that can help you plot out the rest of the journey.

If you're thinking to yourself that your boss isn't going to go for this approach, that they want to have the full plan before you start, then you could try selling the idea to them as a series of mini projects.

This approach can reduce the risk to your business if you do it in small steps. You carry out a small step, evaluate the results and then plot out and execute the next step. If the results aren't what you wanted you can change course and repeat the process. You don't have to wait until the end of an improvement project to find out that things are going badly!

Asking 'what's one better than that?' is a great strategy if you are feeling stuck and you need to generate some ideas to help you move your improvement forward. I urge you to ask the question next time you are feeling stuck with your improvements and see what happens.

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 strategies course.

If you are looking for some practical ideas to help you to improve how continuous improvement projects are delivered in your business then check out the free tools section of Making It Happen - click here.

C'mon! Just write the SOP!