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Top Tips for Introducing Continuous Improvement to Employees

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 17, 2017 7:36:00 AM

Obviously, all of us here at KaiNexus are huge fans of continuous improvement. But I’m not going to lie, I find the name to be a bit of a problem. It is clear, succinct, and meaningful, so what could be the matter? Because continuous and improvement are basic English words that your employees and new hires likely understand, it can seem like there isn’t much need for detailed discussion around the topic. You can end up with a conversation that goes like this:

             Manager: “Here at ACME Corp, we practice continuous improvement.”

              Employee: “Ok. That sounds good.”

You’re just not likely to hear, “What do you mean by continuous improvement? Tell me more about that.” But there is so, so much more to tell. Here are our top tips for introducing continuous improvement to new team members or existing ones who haven’t been involved with it before.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

Common Questions about Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 5, 2017 7:05:00 AM

We’ve noticed a theme to many of the conversations that we’ve been having with clients and at the events we’ve attended lately. Lots of folks have questions about the concept of Continuous Quality Improvement or CQI for short. We’ve put together some answers to the questions we are asked most often and even a few that people don’t ask, but they really should.

Is Continuous Quality Improvement Just for Manufacturing Companies?

This comes up quite a bit with many of the methodologies that our improvement management software helps customers manage. The literature around CQI and other techniques is full of references to manufacturing because many of the methods got their start in that sector. Approaches like Lean, Six Sigma, TQM and others were first applied in auto manufacturing and then spread to factories that made just about anything.

But other industries began to take note of the success of improvement efforts in manufacturing and realized that the core principles of CQI can be applied to almost any sector. We now see the approach being applied in healthcare, higher education, construction, software development, transportation and almost any industry you can name. This is because all of them are made up of a series of processes that can be broken down, analyzed and made better.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Quality, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Methodology

Continuous Improvement in Higher Education

Posted by Jake Sussman

Feb 7, 2017 8:20:00 AM

An increasing number of institutes of higher education are introducing the principles of Lean and other continuous improvement methodologies in order to improve efficiency and operational effectiveness. This might be surprising - even a bit controversial - in a sector that doesn’t produce products per se, but the underlying principles of respect for people, incremental change, and the elimination of processes and activities that do not add value absolutely have a place in an educational environment. In higher education, there is an interesting coalition of students, faculty, administrators, public officials and potential employers that all have a stake in achieving the best possible outcomes.

Continuous improvement principles and practices can be applied to both academic services and administrative processes. It is an effective way to address new demands on colleges and universities including responding to heightened expectations and reigning in rising costs. Organizations may have a cohesive approach to improvement across the institution or they may choose to implement programs at the department or unit level.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

The Election And Organizational Improvement: The Lesson We Can Learn [PART 2]

Posted by Mark Jaben

Dec 28, 2016 7:23:00 AM

This is Part II of a two-part blog post. You can read the first part here.

In such a deeply divided race as the 2016 Presidential election, the slogans said it all.

“Make America Great Again”

On this side of the political debate was a group of people who believed that something valuable had been lost and needed to be restored. The loss was not their fault; others had taken advantage of them. They were victims of change - scared and voiceless, in survival mode, focused on all that was wrong.

Their resistance was rooted in adrenaline, the neurotransmitter used by the brain in stressful circumstances.

Adrenaline produces the fight or flight response, causing one’s heart to race and palms to sweat. It diverts blood flow to muscles to be ready to act. Vision narrows down. Attention is focused on the immediate threat.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Resolutions for the New Year

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 27, 2016 1:29:39 PM

As 2016 draws to a close, our thoughts turn to what’s ahead in the coming year. Many of us vow to hit the gym or lay off the Doritos. We might even resolve to be a little kinder and more generous in the months to come.

This is a good time of year to make some business-related resolutions as well.

If you are reading this blog, continuous improvement is probably something that matters to you, so we’d like to offer some ideas for continuous improvement New Year’s resolutions.

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Topics: Lean, Spread Continuous Improvement

Yes, You Can Spread an Improvement Culture with Limited Resources

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 16, 2016 7:42:00 AM

Hint: Continuous Improvement Software Makes it Possible 

Creating a unified culture of continuous improvement, rolling out new software to help capture that improvement, measuring that improvement, and sharing knowledge to maximize improvement; it all sounds like a huge job, doesn’t it? You might be mentally reviewing the resources your organization has and thinking that despite the amazing impact it could have both in the short and long term, you just don’t have the employee time or means to pull it off right now. Luckily, spreading continuous improvement culture with limited resources is easier than you might think.

Dr. Tania Lyon, Director of Organizational Performance Improvement for St. Clair Hospital knows about fostering a culture of improvement and deploying continuous improvement software with limited resources. Dr. Lyon recently hosted a KaiNexus webinar alongside Mark Graban, KaiNexus Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org.  In that KaiNexus webinar, available here, she outlined how her small department of just two part-time staff managed to roll-out continuous improvement software to an organization of over 550 physicians and 2,400 employees, experiencing success all along the way.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement, Continuous Improvement Software, Customer Testimonials

The Science Behind the Resistance to Change [Webinar on Demand]

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 12, 2016 10:27:26 AM

Introducing new topics, standards, and philosophies is difficult. It can be even more difficult when you face resistance when introducing these new thoughts. In a recent KaiNexus webinar, our Mark Graban paired with Mark Jaben to explain the science behind resistance to change. Mark Jaben, MD, has over thirty years experience in community emergency medicine in the US and New Zealand.

We’ll tell you about the highlights of this webinar, but make sure you check out the entire thing here.

 

The Science Behind Resistance to Change [Free Webinar on Demand]

Watch Now

 

What’s the Deal with Resistance?

During the implementation of a new process, you will often have to deal with resistance from staff members. You should even want to see some form of resistance. Facing resistance helps to avoid misguided decisions and helps craft ideal change in your organization.

Resistance often comes in the face of change. One mistake that many people make when facing change is that thinking that change is a problem. Change is not a problem; change is a dilemma. The difference between changes and dilemmas is that dilemmas do not go away like problems do. Dilemmas are like balancing on a tightrope. It is a balance of the benefit vs the risk of harm. A dilemma requires strategy to leverage balance points. If this strategy is done well, it results in the next step and allows you to continue moving forward on the journey to accomplish ideal change.

To move forward and accomplish ideal change, you need to address issues and find out what works, but you also need to make sure that it is a workable change. Without a workable change, people will not accept it. They need to believe that the change will be more successful than what they’re currently doing, or else they will reject this change.

If they don’t believe the change will be successful for them, then why shouldn’t they resist? Resistance is the judgment made by the brain that the proposal for change makes less sense than what they’re currently doing. This judgment is only partly based on reason, but it can also be based on missing data. To dig deeper inside the how the brain makes judgments, check out the full-length webinar.

 

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

Mining for Ideas: Continuous Improvement at Kinross

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 6, 2016 1:38:30 PM

Generally, when you think of companies using continuous improvement, you mostly jump to manufacturing companies and healthcare organizations. Hearing about how other industries are able to bring in continuous improvement can provide new insights and ideas. Continuous improvement is breaking through in the mining industry, from South32, a mining company based out of Australia, to Kinross, a gold mining company in Nevada.

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Topics: Lean, Spread Continuous Improvement, Continuous Improvement Software

What’s The Perfect Continuous Improvement Methodology?

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 30, 2016 7:00:00 AM

We talk to lots of people who are devoted to one of the popular continuous improvement methodologies in use by businesses today. Many of our customers are devotees of Lean, Six Sigma, Toyota Production System, Total Quality Management, Agile, or others. People who know we provide technology that supports all of them often ask us which is the best continuous improvement methodology. Well, like a lot of things in life, it depends.

Every organization is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all perfect approach. The key is finding the right combination for your current circumstances. So, while we can’t tell you which methodologies you should choose, we can tell you what it looks like when an organization has found the right combination.

When the perfect continuous improvement methodology is in place, organizations:

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Spread Continuous Improvement

The Next Generation of Huddle Boards

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 22, 2016 7:30:00 AM


I remember when my family got our first VCR. I was extremely excited about the prospect of recording MacGyver so I could watch it anytime I wanted. What a concept. As far as I was concerned, the VCR was the best invention of all time.

Seems silly now. Today I have a Smart TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. I can watch pretty much whatever I want, when I want, with no media at all. Heck, even TiVo is a blast from the past. Like me, you probably don’t watch television or movies the way you did in the 80’s or 90’s. Perhaps it’s time for your huddle board to evolve as well.

 

Everybody Gather Around

Physical huddle boards were developed to serve the important purpose of visualizing the progress of improvement projects. At specified intervals teams gather to discuss opportunities for positive change and work together to remove any impediments to improvement. Conceptually, physical huddle boards have a lot going for them. They visualize work, promote team collaboration, and place a focus on improvement. All good stuff. But the nature of physical huddle boards leaves a few questions without any good answers:

  • How do you address work that happens in more than one location?
  • Can remote workers be equally engaged?
  • How can the results of completed improvements be tracked over time?
  • Is the history of improvement work captured?
  • Can executives monitor the huddle boards for every department or team?
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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology