Improvement Infrastructure/Process

Few things are more strategic than the capabilities of your organization. Competitors can match or trump your capital investments, marketing campaigns, or new products and services. But few competitors have the foresight, discipline, and skill to build a strong and constantly improving organization. By building a highly capable organization — one that’s continually learning, growing, and developing — you will develop an unmatched competitive advantage. You’ll be able to move quickly to minimize the threats and capitalize on the opportunities change throws at you. You’ll also be in a position to start creating that change. You’ll be the “destiny controller” in your industry and chosen markets.

Improvement doesn’t happen just because you want to get better. Everyone might understand the pressing need for improving your ability to capitalize on rapid, unpredictable change. But unless you have the structure, processes, and disciplined habits for constant and ongoing improvement, it’s all just useless, wishful thinking.

Need for Improvement Infrastructure/Process:

a. Operational urgencies crowd out improvement.
b. Coordinate partial improvement programs and pieces.
c. Move “Change Management” from bolt-on programs to built-in processes.
d. Balance accountability for improvement with operations.
e. Focus everyone’s improvement energy and ideas.
f. Provide an implementation process for strategic imperatives.
g. Customize change/improvement programs and processes.

Why a Robust Infrastructure/Process is so Rare:

a. Managers don’t understand its role and importance.
b. A weak improvement culture, investments, and discipline.
c. Fear of more committees, meetings, and bureaucracy.
d. Improvement is seen as a motivational issue.
e. Imbalance of working in the business and on the business.
f. Trendy new programs/tools seem quick and easy.

Improvement Planning Process:

  1. Establish corporate and local improvement infrastructure/processes.
  2. Appoint corporate (and local) coordinators.
  3. Write an improvement plan based upon a comprehensive improvement framework.
  4. Implement — Make changes/improvements.
  5. Prepare an Annual Report (as end of planning cycle approaches).
  6. Write next cycle’s improvement plan.

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