Continuous improvement has a long history in the business world and after over 50 years, many leadership teams we talk to believe that it can be done quickly and implemented throughout the organization in 6-12 months. How wrong they are. This article is about not overdoing continuous improvement at the outset.
It is important to understand the base you are operating from. Most organizations don’t have the skills or resources to launch a Continuous Improvement program. It has many moving parts and specific skills. The company needs to have an implementation roadmap that starts small and quickly gains momentum. Implementation of a scalable and sustainable Continuous Improvement program is further complicated because management teams of today are too anxious and too short-term result oriented to like an evolutionary approach. After all, few C-suite executives are around long enough to see evolution take place, or better stated, few CEO’s are around long enough to keep the organization focused on long term initiatives.
Given that, there is an approach that will let the leadership team have it both ways. Everyone needs to have a visible ROI for anything they do. They need to show it now. The Group50® approach is to work with senior leaders to create the continuous improvement roadmap that supports the company’s Business Hierarchy of Needs®, and then focus early efforts on strategic and operating gaps. Focusing intense effort on high visibility gaps, that move the strategic needle, provides a boot camp for the organization to learn new skills and techniques. It gets organizations aligned to strategic objectives and provides high visibility early successes. It builds excitement and momentum. It demonstrates the WIFM – what’s in it for me, which is important for all participants, especially millennials. It keeps the organization focused on the company’s strategic objectives.
In other words, it gets the ball rolling which is what continuous improvement programs or any other major program needs to have to be effective and sustainable. This approach should be part of the change management plan for the company. It will take a while to get critical mass, but as long as the chosen projects have high visibility and are getting good results the only thing that will happen is an acceleration of implementation and acceptance.
Check out all articles on Driving Continuous Improvement:
- Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Introduction
- Part I – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Alignment To Strategy
- Part II – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Do Not Overdue At The Outset
- Part III – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Creating A Culture Of Strategic Execution
- Part IV – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Best Practices
- Part V – Five Things You Need To Do To Drive Continuous Improvement – Tools And Data
- Utilizing Continuous Improvement Tools At The Business Level
- Creating the Business Case For A Continuous Improvement Program Workshop
- Additional articles on Continuous Improvement in Group50’s blog
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About the Author: Jim Gitney, CEO and Founder, started Group50® Consulting in 2004 with the focus of working with companies to significantly improve their performance by leveraging people, process and technology as part of 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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