Continuous Improvement is something every Business can Beneift From- Lisa Askwith- Engaging Your People for Success
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Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve all elements of an organization such as processes, tools, products, and services, etc. The improvements can be small and incremental, or they can be more breakthrough in nature. Continuous improvement itself is a key ‘hidden area’ that many businesses miss out on, loading the massive gains it can give. Not because they don't want it, but because they don't understand how easily it can be included in the business structure. How it can be part of the people make up of the business, allowing it to take on a life of its own that benefits everything, people, culture, bottom line and success. One of the key issues to grasp is that this should be an “ongoing” process if you really want to get maximum benefits for your people and your company. Iit should be part of the DNA of your company, embedded into the culture, not just an activity that your organization undertakes to tick some boxes and move on. The most successful organizations can instill a culture of continuous improvement, which adds benefits and cost savings to all areas of the business.
According to a seven-year study by GiANT Worldwide, the average team functions at just 58 percent of its potential because it is not intentionally capturing the genius of each person. Instead, it relies on the drive of just one or two "leaders." Imagine what that means for your business. How many more clients could you serve, and what would revenue and sales look like, if you harnessed more of the team’s capacity? This is what focusing on Continuous Improvement as part of your business culture can achieve for you.
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Today’s we will not only talk all about continuous improvement, I will also review the more interesting and engaging ways in which you can make this part of your culture and staff mindset. After all Continuous Improvement is an ongoing, consistent effort to improve products, processes, or services, and the reason we are focusing on it is because it reduces waste and increases quality in a business, while also having the opportunity to fully engage your staff and take your business to the maximum level of success.
Sometimes Continuous Improvement gets a “bad-rap” as being just another process where people are going to critique a department or someone’s work. It should never be presented this way. In fact if done well it can be fun, and engage your people to greater utilisation of their skills and ideas. This ultimately benefits everyone! The key is to tie the Continuous Improvement process to business needs, and the engagement of your people. Doing this will give your organisation an edge, as it will lead to a competitive advantage for your business and an improved culture for your people.
Key Issues – Employee Perspective
What You Need to Do
1. Commit throughout the organization. ...
2. Make kaizen 9 (drilling down to the route cause) part of the new routine. ...
3. Tie it back to everyone's job. ...
4. Measure the results. ...
5. Communicate. ...
6. Be deliberate and patient. ...
Sounds easy right, there are just 7 steps…….but remember we want this a living part of your culture in order to generate you success year on year, not just as a once off.
Sending a memo asking for it will not work, it will just get lost in the noise. We need to think a little bigger and really plan for it and then embed it.
CI in itself is one of those projects that causes people to think what do I have to do now, but we want to turn that on its head and make it fun….sound a bit strange? Well it should be fun as we are letting people think outside of the box, and even encouraging them to share their wildest ideas…..it needs to be fun to break down the barriers of judgement or fear so people can really start to offer ideas and thoughts that can have real impact.
So make it fun, and it will also become done!!! Your people will gravitate to the task or tasks that they feel rewarded for and enjoy completing….even if those rewards are not financial……remember a key part of engaging your people for success is allowing them to feel valued. So give them some fun and value at work and create a self-fulfilling embedded CI program.
In order to really capitalise from Continuous Improvement being a core of your business model, you need to embed it properly. A big part of doing this is to use diverse cross functional teams to investigate issues and solutions. This gives you back so much more value, and literally costs you nothing. An organization that has diverse team members encouraged to work together across organizational areas and role scopes, is the best way to really start to embed Continuous Improvement, as it functions across all key areas of potential success- breaks down barriers, increases communication and knowledge throughout the business, supports and generates new ways of thinking, and ultimately leads to new solutions, ideas, and possibilities that would not have represented themselves previously. This also greatly engages your people and helps establish the culture of success and continuous improvement for you. Every individual brings in their way of thinking, operating, solving problems, and decision making.This increases the overall value and potential outcomes.
Nurturing a culture of continuous improvement is a groundwork of employee engagement and favorably triggers growth and success as an organization. Don't miss out on utilising this key people practice in your business.
Previous: Episode 7 S5 How to shift your mindset and fully benefit from establishing Formal Training Programs.
Next: Episode 9 S5 Positive Performance Appraisals and internal accountability are keys to Engaging your People.
Written by Lisa Askwith
Director of ApexBRS | ApexBRS, Regional Director of See Global Media, Chair of EGN Singapore, and Associate Professor Cambridge Corporate University | At the Age of Change, providing the HR component of the Global Executive MBA and BBA. Lisa has worked for some of the largest companies in the world and successfully led restructures and change management programs in order to improve the bottom line through engaging the people for success, while developing exceptional leaders who can make a positive impact on Culture and long term business sustainability.
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LinkedIn Lisa Askwith - Director - Apex BRS
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