Continuous improvement: working effectively

Rozz Algar of Herne
Rozz Algar of Herne

Rozz Algar, from Herne, explores how to ensure continuous improvement really does continue in your business

All too often businesses (even the best of businesses) start to be slowed down by the very things that should be making them tick – the processes and the people.

Processes become overly complicated, chains of command too long, people become entrenched in the way that they do things and get bogged down in minutiae.

The continuous improvement cycle

Great businesses focus on ensuring that continuous improvement is a fundamental principle of what they do. We have probably all heard of the continuous improvement cycle – Plan, Do, Check, Act – but how many of us can honestly say that we follow this principle throughout our business?

Each element of this cycle is as important as the last.

Plan . . .

Planning or having a clear goal has to be the first fundamental. Without a clear goal and set of objectives, how will we ever know if we have actually achieved anything? But what is more important than having this goal is to communicate it clearly and succinctly to all involved.

Do . . .

Making sure the strategy is clear and then getting on with things has to follow closely behind. Sometimes too much time is spent planning.

Check . . .

Okay, let’s be honest: how much do we do of this? All too often checking gets forgotten or at least pushed to one side in the rush to keep going. If we don’t take time to stop and evaluate how we are doing, how do we know for sure that any future plans will be any better than what came before?

Act . . .

Once we know what improvements need to be made, let’s act as quickly as we can and not waste time looking back, or debating. If it needs to be done, it needs to be done. And not forgetting of course that it is called a continuous improvement cycle for a very good reason: it keeps on going round; there is no end, just a new beginning.

All this sounds simple and straightforward, but to help you get going, how about asking yourself the following questions to see whether now would be a good time to check and act?

Read the full article in Business Action online.

• Rozz Algar is a highly successful and energetic executive with expertise in people management, organisational development and communications.

  • tel: 01837 83111
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  • Twitter: @HerneRozz

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