The word disruption is now firmly entrenched in the lexicon of language in popular use by leaders in their respective organisations. Only last week in a discussion with a group of senior leaders they were remarking how fast this word has been adopted by people at almost every level of their organisation to describe a range of situations. One leader in this discussion was heard to remark “disruption is one thing but what happens after that, surely we need to keep focus on stability and continuous improvement?”
The conversation led to given that we seem to be surrounded by disruption, what would they focus on to maintain continuous improvement which, they all agreed, was still an essential ingredient for success in their respective organisation.
A wide range of possibilities was offered and the group eventually distilled them down to the following five core points:
- By far and away there was universal agreement that creating the right culture has to be the first priority, because continuous improvement requires on-going focus and leaders need to develop in their company a mindset and behaviour that quality is as important as quantity and there is always room for improvement. This requires adaptability, flexibility, and a willingness to change the status quo to be present in the culture.
- To improve anything requires action and the consensus view was that the biggest ‘road block’ to action is fear. People must not be placed in a position of being ridiculed for offering ideas, no matter how ‘whacky and way-out’, or for pointing out concerns no matter how serious these may turn out to be. Fear can be dramatically reduced with open honest communications, making sure leaders are approachable, and required goals and outcomes are clear.
- Ensure there are funds available to provide people with on-going education and training and there is time and opportunity for people to apply and practice newly acquired skills. In our work we come into contact with many people at different in companies who have ‘know-how’. They ‘know’ what needs improvement and have ideas on ‘how’ things can be improved; often they simply don’t have the skills and experience to make these improvements a reality.
- First and foremost, double check to ensure the right things are being measured and know ‘how’ the findings from the data collected are going to be applied; don’t collect data for the sake of collecting data, ‘the cloud’ is filled with gigabytes of data that has been collected and will never be used .
- Ensure people are recognised; allow everyone to take pride in what improvements are achieved, no matter how small. One of the leaders present said that in one department within her company the leader had created a ‘Wall of Pride’ where people could record at any time improvements they were proud of.
Over time needs of companies will change and on occasions even be disrupted. Keeping people focused in the same direction will be essential to continuing improvement. Perseverance is needed to maintain this focus long enough for continuous improvement to be an accepted part of your organisation’s way of doing things.
Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.