Organizational change and the concept of continuous improvement should go hand in hand. Any continuous improvement journey is just that – a journey, not an end-point. Successful programs will continuously change to meet the needs of the business and stakeholders. Change can bring lots of speed bumps, road blocks, and yield signs if not managed from a positive perspective, and it’s important to remember that faster is not always better. Here are a few helpful hints in managing the change that accompanies continuous improvement:
- Realize that all things can be improved. Whether the improvement is a minor tweak or a major overhaul, objective vision is a must to keep moving forward.
- Collection of baseline data is important. Data-driven decisions will provide a roadmap with the right direction, as long as you use good data and correct interpretation.
- Measure the results of the changes you make. Your measurements will determine your next course of action—they may validate your assumptions or provide a pivot point for moving in a new direction.
- Failure to continually improve is the same as standing still. Don’t let road blocks stop the forward momentum.
- Sometimes the smallest improvements yield the best results. Fine tuning can pay off. Change doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking, so keep it simple while moving ahead.
- Change is inevitable, so just embrace it! Become a change advocate through leadership and a positive attitude, and others will follow.
- Programs that are improved over time will not become stale or taken for granted. Antiquated processes provide diminishing returns and become obsolete quickly.
- Involve all stakeholders in continuous improvement efforts. Getting that buy-in upfront instills pride of ownership and helps to guarantee success.
- Training on all changes—whether on the plant floor or for office business process—is imperative because adults are creatures of habit. Set your continuous improvement efforts up for success by ensuring that changes have been communicated, trained, and reinforced.
Just as in life, being in for improved programs, procedures, processes, and policies means being in for the long haul—not just for the short-term. Ensure your journey isn’t a pothole-ridden uphill battle. Embrace change and lay the foundation for continuous improvement.