Continuous Improvement Begins with You!

One of the things that drives me batty is how hard some people make continuous improvement. Some think you have to go to 2 or 4 weeks of training to make something better. Some think if you don’t have a green or black belt you are not worthy to come up with ideas for making your job better.

It’s as if people feel like they need to whip themselves with chains before making anything better.

Rather than ramble about why these problems exist let me just offer some ideas for getting over the hump.

  1. Make something, anything, better today. Yes you. I don’t care what it is or how small it is. Just make something better than it was yesterday.
  2. After you are done with step 1 tell someone about it. Just say, “Hey Chuck, ever notice how me and you are the only one’s to use that printer over there? Chuck responds, “Yeah.” You then say, “Well I moved the stupid thing closer to our desks so we don’t have to walk so far when we print something.” Chuck will likely respond, “Cool. Hey, wanna go to lunch?”
  3. While at lunch speak to Chuck about how it would be cool to make something better every day. Even something as simple as moving a printer closer to your desk.
  4. If he agrees to it challenge Chuck to making something better every day. Make a competition out of it – the loser buys the first round Friday night or coffee Monday morning.

The morale of the story is continuous improvement starts with you and it starts today. You up for it?

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5 Comments

  1. Rob

    December 6, 2007 - 1:27 am

    With a post like this you should have become a self-help guru. Next you’ll be writing stuff like this: http://tinyurl.com/yn4qoz

  2. Chris Wixcey

    December 7, 2007 - 3:11 am

    Rob,

    I agree too many people make a big thing out of qualifications in the improvement cycle.
    People and I mean everybody has the ability to improve businesses. People doing the jobs are the process experts be it manufacturing or in the office.
    All people really need is the opportunity to take part in daily improvements. Most people want to improve the environment they work in and by small improvement daily you would be surprised the difference it makes.
    We hear about coloured belts and degrees in this and that but a lot of continuous improvement is common sense, if it was your business would you use the current method or would you change it? that’s the question you need to ask yourself.

  3. Rick Foreman

    December 7, 2007 - 9:25 am

    Wow! Great post! I believe the real definition of implementing lean is well written in the post and comments. It is the daily common sense improvements made by anyone and everyone that truly change and drive a culture of continuous improvement. Too many try to make lean into some mysterious skill set that can only be obtained by a super sensei. Hardly the case. As noted by Rob, the people doing the work are the real experts.

  4. Bryan

    December 12, 2007 - 8:40 am

    Perfect. I couldn’t agree more.