The following lessons were learnt by the continuous improvement (CI) leader of a Fortune 250 company:
- Continuous improvement initiatives must be linked to overall strategy and have clear financial impact: As explained by strategic alignment, continuous improvement is a part of the Executive-level and/or Board goals. The possibility of success in continuous improvement reduces without strategic and financial alignment, as continuous improvement work is driven by challenging hard or everyday process variation. Appropriate alignment proposes the productive and ready platform required for any successful effort.
- A tool doesn’t make a craftsman: Most of continuous improvement programs involve a lot of tools. The goal should be to minimize these at the nascent stage by having clear expectation and maintaining a record of the tool used. On one hand where the CI tools boost the energy of a project, they fade away as compared to the organizational impact of positive change and project management within a continuous business improvement program or project can accomplish.
- Leaders must focus relentlessly on achieving the right results in the right way: The CI leaders are expected to be persistent, impervious, ethical, have strong financial skills, be collaborative, have leadership qualities, and come up solutions. The CI leader is expected to show the desired, right, and quick results.
- Continuous improvement needs to link together process and data to make more intelligent and efficient businesses: A CI leader is needed to drive the idea of “Big Data”. The data is required to be instrumented, relevant and smart, and interconnected to result in business improvement.
Some of the principles of Murphy’s Law can really be helpful in the continuous business improvement program leading to process excellence too.