Skip to main content

Are your improvements off course?

Do you feel that your continuous improvement plans are going off course?
Do you sometimes wonder if you are on the right track when it comes to making change?

If you feel that your improvement plans are going off course then don’t worry, join the rest of us who have to embrace this on a regular basis!

I’m a big fan of planning; coming up with a game plan that will take my clients from where they are to where they want to be. I’m also a realist and realise that the straight line path that I have devised is only a guide.
To get around this, and to keep me on track I keep the following ‘reality’ in my head during projects:

  • I plan for the simplest and most direct route possible.
  • I expect that when I start digging to find out what is going on I will follow ‘the real path’, which could possibly take me off into different areas of enquiry.
  • I know what the intention is for the change, so I can therefore keep correcting my course to ensure that at the end of every diversion I can swing back round to try and get back on track with my original planned path.

When I share this model with my clients, who are feeling frustrated with their wobbly project routes, they take great comfort in this view of the world.

Just yesterday I was thrown off course when a few unexpected factors were thrown into the conversation. We explored these other issues and then re-framed the conversation (back to the intention of the changes being considered) and were able to easily incorporate the outcomes into our original plan.
The project is stronger now and, ultimately, will be more effective thanks to the inclusion of the additional factors. Looking back to the planning stage these factors were invisible to the team at the start, but we took them in our stride.

The bigger the improvement you are trying to make, and the more people that are involved with the process under review, the more likely it is that you will be knocked off course on a regular basis.
If you are feeling this way and unsure what to do next, remember the intention of the improvement you are working on and use it like a compass to realign your efforts and use any new knowledge you have to gained to bolster your improvement plans.

Have fun getting back on track!


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.

Improve your business with the Streamlining Processes Kit

Popular posts from this blog

The Kaizen Checklist is here!

Do you want to get better results from your Kaizen programme? Improve your business results quickly with my downloadable kit (including guidebook, workbook and templates) for only $39. Are you looking for a sustainable way to identify and implement improvements across your business? Practical improvement strategies The Kaizen Checklist is a downloadable kit that you can use with your management team to develop a system that suits your business and allow you to quickly implement Kaizen effectively at your place of work. This works great if you use it as the centre piece of your own internal workshop. The kit includes a 40 page guidebook, a workbook, four appendices and three templates. All parts of this kit are designed to get you up and running as fast as possible. If you are unfamiliar with Kaizen, let me stress that this is a simple improvement philosophy that is so much more than just  ‘a Japanese word for continuous improvement’. I’ll cover what it rea

Take the pressure off! Using the Y-curve with your Kaizen improvements

Do you feel under pressure when you have to make changes happen in your business? It can be scary when we try something that we have never done before. I remember thinking to myself 'how on Earth am I going to figure this out?' on many occasions. I think the last time was a few weeks ago! Years on from becoming reasonable at the art of change I am still faced with the same dilemma. It is scary and it is clear to me why so many people shy away from making change happen. It is natural to get stuck in this oscillation. On one hand you need to make change happen; the business needs the improvement benefits. On the other hand you don't want to screw up... Last week I was talking to a young engineer that I am mentoring. He was paralysed. Changes were not happening at all. There was always some early promise with his projects and then, as completion (and judgement day) loomed, progress would evaporate. The engineer asked me for my views on this  during a recent conversati

Do you need a burst of improvement ideas for your business?

If you haven’t created your improvement action plan for 2020 yet then I have something for you. I have just completed my latest project – The CI Focus Tool . This Android App is now available on Google Play and provides a simple method for generating as many effective improvement ideas as you need. This is the same basic method that I describe in my book Effective Continuous Improvement  and is now available as a simple to use app. In essence it is a brainstorming focus tool. Press the focus button and you will be presented with a random continuous improvement focus. Brainstorm ideas around this focus with your team (whilst the timer is running) and there you go – a number of great ideas for you to prioritise and implement. The reason that this works so well is because of the focus. When your business runs out of its immediate problems to fix you need a different strategy. Very focused brainstorming helps you break past this problem and configuring the app to meet t