Let’s face it, we are all comfortable in our routines and practices. We are resistant to change. Yet we complain bitterly when another process or procedure we regard as “inadequate” slows us down.
When we consider ways to improve things, the concept of a “blank check” can help teams and organizations to dream big and come up with solutions that work. A recent Strategy+Business article describes this approach, and how it has been successful in a variety of initiatives.
Whether real or imagined, the blank check is a useful framework for brainstorming solutions. How could processes be improved if there were no resource constraints? What is possible? How would success be monitored and measured?
While “dreaming big” can get things started, getting to the “bottom line” of continuous improvement should be a regular feature in a real-world business environment. In implementing a continuous improvement process, always be sure to:
- Prioritize processes that need improvement (e.g. that customers complain about or hinder achieving results).
- Listen for requirements – what is it really that people want? How can we meet requirements 100% of the time?
- Design a way to meet requirements. Using tools such as flow charting, design, develop or refine procedures, processes, systems to meet those requirements.
- Be sure it works. Test and look for those “sticky” moments through problem anticipation, ripple effect analysis, risk analysis, contingency planning and implementation effectiveness.
- Make it happen consistently. Monitor implementation and make adjustments based on experience, feedback and, most importantly, success!
by Steven Lesser