“The value of an idea lies in the using of it” – Thomas A. Edison
I have had the privilege to talk with CEOs and Business Owners who make CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT their mantra. When you go into their businesses, there is an energy, a positivity and employee engagement unlike others.
Are you thinking, ah, that is just another ‘Toyota’ thing and spare me the rest of the conversation, I am not in manufacturing? Well, hear me out!
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT is a culture and a mindset coupled with an employee empowerment plan and most importantly, it brings a focus of what truly adds value to your customers and clients. If it does not, you have to think seriously about why you are doing it. Questions to ask: Does the customer care? If not, why are we doing it? Can we eliminate it or improve it?
Hospitals, banks, restaurants and consulting firms are some of the industries who are earnestly looking at the CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT culture and I believe so should you! Automated systems, operational efficiency and customer focus is what will keep you competitive. In order to manage this process, you have to have a baseline to start, so you can measure it, improve it and measure it again.
In an earlier blog I introduced you to a new and comprehensive process we call VISION DAY. A simple process that leads you through the complexity of your business to assess where you are today (Point A), not in a cookie cutter way, but in a neatly customized way to reflect your company in present state, yeah the SWOT analyses stuff! Then we take you on a journey of where you see your business three years out (Point B).
Our comprehensive process does not leave any stones unturned. On this journey, after we understand Point A and B, we focus on the planning of 3-5 initiatives and come up with a milestone plan (same day). We believe at this juncture is where a lot of strategies fail, sending you back to implement all the initiatives, yet still continue with the same work load? We offer to become your sounding board, advisor and mentor over the months ahead as we help you get the initiatives implemented. We already know what you are trying to accomplish and can hold you to it and make sure it gets done. Aspirations can fade quickly when all you have is 80 hours to work! Believe me, once you get some positive changes out of the way, your employees start to bring their energy into the business and that is where CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT begins.
Creating a baseline through a VISION DAY is an excellent start. You begin to appreciate the culture change in moving from Point A towards Point B. You have a plan and step by step, you begin to implement your initiatives. This is where the rubber hits the road and of course hurdles will be in the way, but with the right support you actually can drive your business through this transformation.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT becomes a mantra, a way of doing business. Employees are empowered and encouraged to problem solve. This leads to increased productivity and before you know, the customer is being served faster and better. Your employees understand your goals and provide ongoing support. You also begin to notice how your operational efficiency is improving (translate: creating value) and you begin to look at all procedures and systems with a mindset of eliminating steps that bring no value. Waste is expensive.
One more thing, having NO roadmap does not get your there! Having a roadmap is ONLY effective if you evaluate and measure it regularly to assure your plan is succeeding as planned. If not, the competition will beat you and leave you in the dust with no more fuel. According to a recent PwC report on family businesses, the fear of competition almost doubled over the last two years and is a major concern, as the big guys keep getting bigger.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT is a path towards a stronger and faster business. Would you like to start a conversation with us? This is the kind of work we are passionate about, and together we can make sure you are not left behind.
I leave you with this saying by Andy Warhol
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”
 “Professionalize to optimize: US family firms are no longer winging it” by PwC, 2015