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What would happen if you focused on your top Continuous Improvement priority every day?

There are some things that would make a real difference to your business if you could just get them done, aren’t there?

For most of us there are a handful of improvement projects that can help us get the results we are looking for in our business. There might be twenty opportunities, but only a few of them will make a significant difference to our current working practices.

Our day to day workloads, demands from customers and suppliers, colleagues and managers can really deflect our focus away from these continuous improvement objectives. The day to day stuff is really important, and I am not suggesting that you start to avoid those tasks, but what would the rewards be if you could get your improvement projects fully implemented?

There is usually a time saving resulting from improvements. This time saving can be re-invested to work on the next project, but only if you keep the focus on the project in the first place. So, how can you go about doing this? Here are two practical suggestions to help you close out more improvement projects faster:

1. Start your day with your number one improvement.

Review the status of the improvement, get any updates and decide how you want to progress things today.

2. Break the action plan down into tiny packets of work.

To help you constantly progress your number one improvement project, break down the project tasks into small packets of work. Five to ten minute packets should be enough to ensure that progress can happen each and every day (this could be making a single phone call or making a decision).

These two tactics, when combined, offer a very practical and very effective approach to making sure that change happens quickly in your business. If you get some extra time you can push a project further forward, you don’t have to limit it to one ‘packet’ per day. I think that you will astonish yourself as to how much you can get done when you have this sole focus to re-boot your working day.

I used this same approach when I took over the manufacturing operation at a failing business. I had a range of improvements that I wanted to implement, but only ever one ‘number one’. The number one improvement was located on the office door, highlighted in garish colours, and couldn’t help but be noticed. It started conversations, everyone noticed it. When it was completed, up the next poster went. It can be that simple.

I hope that you can adopt this idea if your improvement activities aren’t going at a pace that you want. The good news is that this approach is free to implement and will only take you a few minutes to think through how you want to use it (it might take you a few more minutes if you draw up a poster too!).

All the best,


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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