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Continuous Improvement Success Comes in Cans!

As I drove between clients yesterday I caught part of a BBC Radio 4 programme. The programme's callers were speaking about how disability had suddenly changed their lives.

Listening to the courage and tenacity of the callers was inspiring. One caller in particular caught my attention.

She had been talking about all of the obstacles she had overcome as she tried to regain her independence. There had been a theme through the last few calls around not waiting for other people to hand 'things' on plates. She quoted her mother:

"Success comes in cans!"


She carried on by saying that so many people talk about all the reason that they can not do something rather than finding a way to do something. Her point was that the solutions are there, just the attitude needed to shift.

This resonated with me because of the work I am involved with. There are always a million reasons why something can not happen but it is the results that count.

Some people will find a way and other will not.

Some people will persist and others will give up.

Some people will achieve the performance objectives and others will become frustrated.

So, here's the question...

"How do we get a few more people to find ways to win than to give up?"

I'm not sure of a precise answer to this question but I do know a few ways that help:

  1. You can use small steps (Kaizen) to build confidence in your teams. Start with a smaller problem to overcome (or improvement to make) and let your team members find their feet.
  2. You can lead by example and show your team how to use persistence and creativity to find a way to win.
  3. You can keep your previous successes visible, so that your team don't forget that you have won in the past and that you can win again.
Find whatever works for your team, just find a way to move from 'can not' to 'can'.

And, try sharing with them the 'success comes in cans' motto.

Listening to stories of people overcoming life changing obstacles often puts our continuous improvement projects into context. So, don't sweat the improvement projects if you can't currently find solutions... if you keep going you will!


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 improvement toolkit.

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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…