In businesses, continuous improvement is a journey which is often difficult to achieve. Employees are typically rewarded for short term accomplishments, rather than being encouraged to focus on what needs to be accomplished over the long haul. The general sentiment is, “What have you done for me lately?”
To create a culture of continuous improvement in your organization, consider these seven steps:
Step 1 – Get CEO commitment.
Unless management is committed, the continuous improvement program is at risk. Continuous improvement must be a topic at every management meeting.
Step 2 – Train the team.
Every team member needs to be trained in basic business improvement tools and processes. Otherwise, the team’s confidence, power, and work quality will suffer.
Step 3 – Make it visible.
The outcomes of all processes must be visible to everyone in the organization.
Step 4 – Measure the change.
Choose metrics that are easily measurable and track progress on an ongoing basis, so at the end you know whether you were successful.
Step 5 – Build the team.
A successful team will not happen by itself. It must be driven from the top.
Step 6 – Reward the result.
People perform best when rewarded. Create a system that will motivate and inspire your employees.
Step 7 – Never give up!
Tenacity is key. The difference between a successful person and one who fails is that the successful person never gives up.
Successfully implementing key initiatives or strategies does not just happen by chance. You need to create and follow a well thought out plan and effectively adapt to change. Identifying a project champion that is accountable for the implementation of key initiatives and projects is essential for success. In addition, monitoring your progress and results along the way is necessary so you can make revisions or alterations to your plan as needed.
Robert S. Olszweski is a director with Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email.
How do you ensure a culture of continuous improvement in your business? Share in the comments!