Wednesday, 2 December 2020

A surefire way to see progress with your continuous improvements

One of the troubles with continuous improvement is the infectious way that you can create opportunities for improvement once you get the 'bug'.

You start off with a few small items that you want to improve in the business and then suddenly you are spotting opportunities left, right and centre.

Now, this can be great for some people. They'll dive in, change the world and still manage to deliver on their day job.


...and then there is the rest of us. The list no longer looks like a wealth of opportunities, it looks overwhelming. I see this all too often and it usually leads to one problematic eventuality:

Continuous improvement stops.

Has this happened to you? If it has, let me share with you one simple method that can help you to get back on track.

Narrow your view!

Pick one improvement and focus all of your energies on it. Nibble away at it, a little bit at a time and just park the rest of your improvements for later.

I have worked with two teams in just the last week that had this exact problem. We chose just one item off their respective lists and progress was re-ignited.

When you have this prioritised improvement nailed down (and are gaining the benefits) then you can move on to the next one. Don't be distracted by the list of improvements, focus on one, nail it a little bit every day until it is done.

You can keep adding opportunities to your list, just don't let the list turn you off!

Kaizen improvement toolkit
Download your improvement toolkit here

If you are feeling overwhelmed about your continuous improvement 'to do' list then try this method. It is a variation on the Kaizen approach; simple tools can be super effective and if you want more tools like this then don't forget to check out the Making It Happen toolkit.

But, whatever you do, find a way to keep your improvements going!


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 Effective Root Cause Analysis and 'What Does Good Look Like?'.

C'mon! Just write the SOP!