When we chat with people about making the switch to digital continuous improvement, many of the benefits are immediately apparent. People know that using software with workflow capabilities to manage projects is a much better option than using spreadsheets and email. They sense that having a platform designed for the purpose will streamline work and get individual projects across the finish line more often.
Mar 13, 2020 10:00:00 AM
Dec 27, 2019 11:14:00 AM
I’m not sure about you, but at this time of the year, I don’t feel like tackling any major new projects. There seem to be a ton of interruptions, people are in and out of the office, and it is just harder to focus with holiday thoughts on the brain. On the other hand, these next couple of weeks present an opportunity to do a few self-contained improvement projects that can tee up 2020 and help you enjoy the holidays knowing you’re ready to rock the new year.
Here are a few ideas. If you tackle any one of them, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something useful amid all of the year-end excitement.
Nov 7, 2019 9:13:47 AM
It seems like every year goes by faster than the last. I keep making plans to work on my summer tan, and suddenly, it's November. The holidays will be upon us before we know it and then – boom! We're in a brand-new decade.
Before things get too crazy, this is an excellent time to think about how you can set your team up for outstanding results in 2020. It won't surprise you to hear us say it, but making just some small adjustments in your leadership approach can have an enormous impact. Here are four improvement ideas to consider in the new year.
Take Strategic Planning to the Next Level
Most organizations go through some sort of strategic planning exercise for each new year, but few can execute the strategy successfully. That's because the strategy is planned but not fully deployed. It doesn't become part of daily conversations or activities. Perhaps the revenue targets are well understood and receive frequent attention, but what about everything else.
Oct 3, 2019 11:10:14 AM
One of the biggest challenges we hear from organizations that are new to the world of structured business process improvement is that it is hard to articulate for employees what constitutes an opportunity for improvement. Usually, there are some low-hanging-fruit ideas that people jump on right away, but once those are cleared away, it can be difficult to spot flaws in processes, especially ones that you operate every day.
An excellent remedy for this problem is giving employees categories of improvement possibilities to consider. By providing a few examples, and some questions to ask, leaders can spark ideas and get people thinking innovatively.
Aug 21, 2019 1:05:48 PM
As regular readers of this blog know, many of the ideas and practices that guide the modern continuous improvement movement have their origins in Japanese philosophy and culture. Today’s leaders talk about kaizen (improvement), hoshin kanri (direction setting), and kanban (visual management) regularly. Recently, while scrolling through my Instagram feed of all things, I was struck by another Japanese concept that deserves some thought in the business context as well – the art of Kintsugi.
Kintsugi which translates to “golden journey” and is also known as Kintsukurio (golden repair) is the art of repairing broken pottery by joining the broken pieces with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. No attempt is made to hide the repair; in fact, the technique highlights it. The repair becomes part of the history of the object. The object is not beautiful despite the fact that it was broken, it is more beautiful because it was broken.
Jul 4, 2019 2:35:56 PM
A while back, we wrote about some continuous quality improvement techniques that we love because they are easy but powerful. One of the most important realizations that people have, when they start to build an organization focused on excellence and constant improvement, is that the path is not complicated. It’s really all about getting the little things right and providing people with a structured way to think about incremental operational change. The original post contained some of our favorite tools. This one has a few more.
May 24, 2019 8:23:00 AM
We talk a lot about the mechanics of business process improvement and the technology to support it on this blog. Today, we thought we’d share some real-world examples of process improvements that made a difference to critical performance metrics.
They come from a wide array of industries and target vastly different problems. What they have in common is that someone recognized an opportunity for improvement, found the root cause, and implemented a fix.
To top it off, none of these improvements cost a dime.
You probably don’t have these specific challenges, but these business process improvement examples might get you thinking in a new way about the ones you do face.
May 23, 2019 7:11:00 AM
When we ask people about innovation, they usually leap to radical breakthroughs like self-driving cars, alternative energy sources, or space colonies. While these things are innovative, the term innovation simply means a change to an established method or idea. Storing your forks closer to the dishwasher is innovation. In companies, incremental changes like optimizing a process, or solving a long-standing problem can be as necessary for success as introducing a new product or selling to a new market.
Apr 29, 2019 11:55:24 AM
Huddle boards are a popular visual management technique that is often used in conjunction with a daily huddle meeting. Teams gather around to chat about the top priorities for the day. Daily incremental improvements are discussed and evaluated. The intent is fantastic, but there are some significant limitations when using a physical board hanging on a wall. That’s why there is a trend away from physical boards to virtual ones. Modern cloud capabilities make it easy and inexpensive for organizations of all types to gain the advantages of digitizing their huddle boards. Here is a look at some of those benefits.
Apr 23, 2019 7:32:00 AM
When I decided to write this post, I thought it would be interesting to see what others have written about the practice of daily huddle meetings. Wow! There are a lot of ideas out there about what should happen during a huddle. It took me a minute to realize that not every organization gears its huddle toward continuous improvement. Some use the huddles for team building, status updates, training, or even employee performance evaluation.
That’s all fine, of course, folks can use their huddle for whatever they like, but if your goal is to use your daily huddle as part of a continuous improvement initiative, there are some warning signs that all is not well. In the context of improvement, the goal of the daily huddle is to agree on the priorities for the day. That seems simple enough, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Here are a few of the problems that can come up and how to tackle them.