Skip to main content

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.

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

Kamishibai Boards

Available to purchase here. Some tools are incredibly simple to use, and also deliver some amazing results. Kamishibai boards are a great example and are superb when you want some visual control over routine tasks. By the way Kamishibai is pronounced "come-e-she-bye" in case you were wondering! As simple as you could want it, a Kamishibai board is a T-card system that has red cards glued to green cards (so that each T-card has a red side and a green side). The red cards are for the incomplete tasks, where as the green cards symbolise that the work has been done. See the photo below of a board in use. On the red side of the card you write the name of the task that needs to be completed, and if appropriate you can include details of how the task is to be completed. This is not expected to replace standard operating procedures, but can be a good opportunity for an aide memoire. The boards can be organised for daily, weekly and even monthly cycles. They are g