Wednesday, 31 August 2011

How Management Can Help Continuous Improvement

When doing some house clearing, I can across and old note book from 2003/2004. Some notes I made about Continuous Improvement (CI) really struck me as they are as relevant today as they were when I wrote them. IN this blog, you will not any earth-shattering new information, just five simple principles that managers or thought leaders within an organisation should keep in mind.

Support the process through allocation of time, money, space + other resources
Support experimentation. Do not punish mistakes, but encourage learning from mistakes. Making a mistake is not failure,

When major organisational changes are planned or coming your way, assess the impact on the existing CI system.
Incorporate it in your planning. It is therefore important to align your CI system with your strategy.

Facilitate CI co-operation across functional boundaries.
Apply shared-problem solving. If only one group improves, it is just local optimisation. But co-operating across teams and functional boundaries, optimisation can go company global. This is also an underlying principle of rightshifting.

Become a learning organisation.
As a manager you must accept that learning will take place and, where applicable, act on all the learning that have taken place. The organisation itself, needs articulate and consolidate the learning of individual and groups. It is not of much help if only individuals learn, but that learning must be shared in some form or another.

The CI system itself must also be continuously improved.
It is important that sufficient resources are made available. If necessary, lobby higher levels of management to understand this. Try to use Reinertsen's Economic model to quantify what value your CI is process providing.

Note: Unfortunately I cannot remember some of the references I was reading at the time, when I made the notes. If anyone recognises something, please let me know.

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