“The rain begins with a single drop. The ocean is a culmination of many rains.” – Murali Krishna K
To create something big, we need to start somewhere small. We need to keep adding to the small unit, bit by bit and keep nurturing it over a period till it becomes a wave, and then an ocean. We all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So how was Rome built? Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation where Rome was built to deliver ‘X’ amount of value to Caesar. As soon as X was accomplished, Caesar increased the target to ‘X+1’ and then to ‘X+2’. This continuous increase in target made the team consistently work on improving the building architecture and policies (among other things) to achieve the incremental improvement.
This process is called Continual or Continuous Improvement. Continual Improvement is not a tool or a product, but an outcome which is achieved over years of analysis, formulations and execution. If improvement is defined as making a change that results in a better outcome, then continual improvement can be defined as continually identifying and making changes that result in better outcomes. It can also be defined as an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.
Included below are some of the key factors that are essential for the success of a continual improvement program:
1. Leading by Example:
The support of an organization’s leadership team is usually cited as the number one factor for the success of a continuous improvement initiative. Leaders must exhibit behaviours that not only demonstrate support for the initiative but also behaviours that they wish all employees to emulate.
2. A focus on “fire prevention” rather than “firefighting”:
Problem resolution often distracts managers to understand the root cause behind the problem. This tendency might successfully douse the first fire, but it causes multiple fires as the source of the spark was never identified and corrected. Finding the root cause focusses of fire prevention in place of firefighting.
3. Having the purpose of existence fixated in every employee’s minds:
“If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” – Quote from Alice in Wonderland.
If the team is not aware and bought into the organization purpose and the associated individual purpose, the team cannot contribute to the success of the organization. Every employee participating in the Continual Improvement program must have a clear vision and purpose. They should have answered “What’s in it for me from the Continual Improvement program?”
4. Concentrate on both long-term and short-term goals:
It is very important to taste success early in the initiative, so that the team believes in the success in the long term. Even the first drop of rain can nourish a leaf or create a smile on the face of a child. Essentially, each activity in the program should lead to intermediate outcomes.
KINDUZ has been delivering continual improvement as an outcome to its customers since 2008. Through this outcome we have delivered over US$ 620+ million ROI to our customers. KINDUZ leverages our proprietary frameworks to deliver continual increments year-on-year.
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