I know that idioms aren’t meant to be taken literally, but every time I hear someone use the phrase, “It’s just a drop in the bucket,” to signal that something is insignificant or not worth the effort, I really want to argue.
What is a bucket full of water if not a collection of drops?
We often see people and organizations apply this flawed thinking to their improvement efforts. They assume that if an improvement doesn’t have a major, immediate impact, it doesn’t count.
Of course, this isn’t the case at all.
One of the reasons that some are quick to discount the impact of incremental improvement is that it can be difficult to track and measure. Only by looking at the results of the entire collection of small changes over time can their results really be understood.
Without a method in place to capture and calculate the effect of these improvements, understanding their value is difficult.
Incremental improvement software solves this by creating a repository for each improvement idea and the associated activities. Additionally, it makes it easy to understand the business outcomes of these efforts.
The “bucket” of improvement will fill more quickly if lots of people are frequently adding drops. This means that everyone in the organization must have the will and the tools.
Incremental improvement software provides a platform that makes it easy for everyone to contribute ideas and get involved in making small changes that add up to a more productive and profitable workplace.
In addition, the best solutions include built-in employee recognition so that everyone who contributes can be acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts.
Incremental improvement software serves as an institutional body of knowledge for your organization that promotes knowledge sharing between different areas of the organization.
It becomes a source for best practices, allowing your team to build on the work that has been done before.
It prevents ideas and experiences from “leaking” out of your bucket when employees leave the organization or change roles.
With the right tools and culture in place, small changes really can transform your business in terms of customer satisfaction, quality, time to market, and profitability. The next time you hear someone say, “That’s just a drop in the bucket,” how about you shout, “Yes! I know. Isn’t that great?”