Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Part III – Culture of Strategic Execution

Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Part III – Culture of Strategic Execution

By: Jim Gitney   |     February 20, 2018

Many people believe that continuous improvement is a culture.  It certainly is in the eyes of the Japanese and many others, but is continuous improvement really a culture or something else? In Part II of this series, we talked about not overdoing continuous improvement at the outset.  How better to get visibility of the efforts being expended in your Continuous Improvement program then to have it move the strategic needle forward by making it the dominant force in executing strategy – one project at a time. Continuous improvement will become contagious!

If you think about it, the most successful companies are those that consistently implement their strategy. Nothing more and nothing less, it is part of their culture. The purest definition of culture is:

“the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterize an institution or organization”

This article is about utilizing continuous improvement to create a “Culture of Strategic Execution™”. The importance of this approach is that for most people, strategy is the domain of the C-suite, while continuous improvement tends to be focused on the lower levels of the organization. It is possible for everyone in the organization to be skilled at the various continuous improvement tools, whether it be 5S, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen, DMAIC, PDCA, etc.  No college degree required! By utilizing these skills on projects that are strategy related, it is possible to create an inextricable link to strategy through all levels of the organization.

To create a culture of strategic execution, the leadership of the company MUST do the following:

  1. Create a well thought through strategy and clearly articulate it.
  2. Establish a Most Important Goal that everyone works towards.
  3. Use the company’s strategy as the basis for justifying everything that is done in the company: Every investment, every program and every activity. Use strategy as the politicly correct way to say NO!
  4. Tie everyone’s compensation to delivering the strategic objectives.
  5. Apply continuous improvement activities to strategic initiatives.

Why are these elements must do’s?  Strategy execution is what defines a company and delivers the end results.  Implementing a Continuous Improvement program is expensive, and it should not be the flavor of the month.  Continuous improvement programs consume a lot of valuable resources for training, project work and cost. So, if these expenditures of capital and resources don’t move the strategic needle forward, then why bother.

I have met too many leadership teams who are frustrated with their continuous improvement programs and want toGroup50's Business Hierarchy of Needs ® defines a change management framework for companies to develop a culture of strategic execution and the ability to realize the full digital transformation and industrial transformation benefits of strategy 5.0 at the intersection of people, process, information technology and cobotics. stop the expenditures, because they haven’t seen results – noticeable results.  These same leadership teams tend to be frustrated with their strategy execution processes. This is primarily driven by the fact that they view continuous improvement as a standalone activity rather than part of a framework as defined by Group50’s Business Hierarchy of Needs®. This framework clearly defines how all of these elements fit together and how they are the building blocks of a culture of strategic execution.

Marrying strategic execution with continuous improvement is the perfect combination of programs that everyone can participate in. It provides clarity to all stakeholders. Leaders see the strategic needle moving forward and employees get the opportunity to participate in the company’s strategic success. Everyone participates (something really important for millennials), they see results and want to do it over and over.  Now that is what we call a “Culture of Strategic Execution™”.

Check out all articles on Driving Continuous Improvement:

  1. Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement –  Introduction
  2. Part I – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Alignment To Strategy
  3. Part II – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Do  Not Overdue At The Outset
  4. Part III – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Creating A Culture Of Strategic Execution
  5. Part IV – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Best Practices
  6. Part V – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Tools And Data
  7. Utilizing Continuous Improvement Tools At The Business Level
  8. Creating the Business Case For A Continuous Improvement Program Workshop
  9. Additional articles on Continuous Improvement in Group50’s blog

Please feel free to use the following link to share the above Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement Series of articles with colleagues.

For more information about how to use Continuous Improvement and the Business Hierarchy of Needs® to create your own “Culture of Strategic Execution™”, contact us at (909) 949-9083, or at or go here to request more information.


About the Author:  Jim Gitney is the CEO and Founder of Group50® Consulting, and author of “Strategy Realized – The Business Hierarchy of Needs®”, a book focused on the use of Continuous Improvement tools and frameworks for developing and implementing strategy (Clink on the picture to find out more about the book and acquire a copy). He works with companies to significantly improve their performance by leveraging peopleprocess and technology to implement a company’s strategic plan.  In 2013, he created Group50’s Business Hierarchy of Needs® change management framework, a fundamental operating guide to senior leadership teams, and was granted a trademark in 2015. He has held C-suite and Board positions in large and small manufacturing companies. He was a member of GE’s Quality Council, part of the team that developed and implemented Black & Decker’s global Total Quality Management (TQM) program, has led or participated in over 125 Kaizen events and is considered a subject matter expert in Continuous Improvement. Group50® consists of consultants from every functional discipline who have spent their careers in corporate America developing strategic plans and rolling up their shirt sleeves to get it done.

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This entry was posted in Business Hierarchy of Needs®, Continuous Improvement, Driving Continuous Improvement Series, Strategy 5.0, Value stream mapping, on February 20, 2018

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