Top 10 Tenets of Continuous Improvement

You’re ready to make your CI dreams a reality but where should you begin (apart from starting at the top)? Organization-wide culture change can be a long and winding journey, but with the right roadmap, it will be a one-way trip.  Use these top 10 tenets of continuous improvement as that roadmap and you’ll be set for success.

1. Abandon fixed ideas
Let go of using terms like “always” and “never”. These terms keep your thoughts and ideas bounded. Try viewing problems with an open mind and new perspectives.

2. Think of ways to make it possible, rather than excuses
Break down the barriers that are blinding you from the solution. Often, the people who say “we can’t do it” are the ones that know exactly how.

3. Attack the process, not the people
When reviewing problems in your organization, analyze the processes rather than the people. Create a culture where your people are not afraid to make mistakes but instead understand that they are learning opportunities.

4. Go for the simple solution, not the perfect one
Ask yourself, what can we do today? The simplest solution is often the quickest and most cost-effective. Instead of creating the perfect solution, take small and immediate actions to see improvements.

5. Correct mistakes right away
Immediate action requires acknowledging you’re wrong. Instilling small, simple changes make potential mistakes easier to correct. There is no blame for failure, so always try again.

6. Use your creativity, not your cash
If you use cash to correct your problems, you are stuck with the investment. Be creative in your solutions. Remember, often the tightest constraints reveal the most creative resolutions.

7. Problems are opportunities
Build a culture that acknowledges your organization’s problems and encourages people to expose them. Hidden problems cannot be fixed!

8. Repeat “Why?” five times, not “Who?”
Kaizen works to find root causes, not to find blame. To drill down to a root cause, we must continuously ask “why”.

9. Seek ideas from many people
Traditional improvement looks towards the “smartest” experts with the highest education. Consider asking those working directly with the process of how they would improve their flow.

10. There is no end to improvement
As we know, customer needs and wants change constantly. Therefore, our solutions are never concrete. Achieve excellence through small improvements every day.

Want to know how to avoid a CI catastrophe? Check out the 7 Deadly Sins of Continuous Improvement and learn how to prevent your transformation from becoming CI hell.

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