Make Continuous Improvement a Priority

Where does continuous improvement rank on your list of priorities? If it is not at or near the top, then it should be.

Continuous improvement is essential to growth in all of the critical ‘Five F’ areas of life – faith, family, finances, fitness and fun. However, for this article, let’s focus on continuous improvement within the context of the business community.

Start out by asking yourself this question, “What would your business look like if Jack Welch, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates were running it?”

From this perspective, we would probably all agree that if any one of these industry icons were running our respective businesses, there would be major changes on the horizon to improve operational performance and results. Likewise, the old adage, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”, does not apply within this rapidly changing, complex business world we are a part of today.

Today’s fast-paced, increasingly global business climate runs on real-time transactions, sound bites and 140 characters. And change is essential to growth. What is the most effective way to bring about needed change and implement continuous improvement plans to ensure future growth?

Here are some initial thoughts to get started:

  1. Make continuous improvement a part of the company’s vision and core values.
  2. Focus on how to create, innovate and improve the business in order to deliver clear differentiated value to the customer.
  3. Determine where, why and how continuous improvement is to be applied.
  4. Remember, continuous improvement does not apply solely to products, services and processes.
  5. Carefully consider the impact on the company’s culture, people and customers before proceeding.
  6. Establish clear-cut goals, actions and plans to address the targeted improvement areas.
  7. Measure, monitor and audit performance to ensure program goals and benchmarks are met.
  8. Eliminate existing initiatives or programs that no longer work, or have exceeded their shelf life.
  9. Keep it simple and get everybody involved in the process.

Be sure that you aren’t “throwing the baby out with the bath water” when attempting to implement potentially disruptive changes. Many derivations of continuous improvement programs can be harmful to your organization’s health. 

Continuous improvement and change are essential growth. This is true whether your business is General Electric, Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft, or a small local business. So, make continuous improvement a priority and get comfortable with the changes required to move your company forward.

Enjoy the journey!



COPYRIGHT © 2013 John Carroll