Creating a different environment for Continuous Improvement

Michael and Mark on top of Carrauntoohil

Often, when we are faced with a challenge we are hesitant to take it on.  It could be a sense of uncertainty about what to expect or the feeling we might fail.  The future is always uncertain and we like to move forward when we are confident in our ability to be able to deal with whatever the challenge will throw at us.  I felt this recently when offered the chance to climb Carrauntoohil.  However, once I spoke to people and understood the challenge I felt better able to face it.

Creating the Lean Sigma or Continuous Improvement Environment takes vision, hard work and commitment to develop a strong selfless culture.  In turn, this must be driven by a modern future focused management team that is willing to embrace failure as a lesson.  They will also have to learn to explore how to eliminate the cause of failure rather than seek who to blame.  An environment where management see that customers are key and business develops by enhancing each individual customers experience.  This is the environment where the feeling that we may fail is reduced and allows us prosper as individuals within an organisation which is likewise growing.

For management and leaders, imagine a workplace where we have clear respect between all parts of the organisation, between each individual and in each individual themselves.  Where fear of failure is tempered with support to succeed.  Business leaders and management must recognise that people are fundamental to success.  We often forget that our staff are the “people” that make our customers return.  Without this return principle we are unable to build any form of loyalty in the customer base and our focus becomes a “quick” sale.

Customer loyalty appears to be fleeting in today’s world.  It is my belief that we have lost a sense of what loyalty means.  We have disconnected loyalty from “the customer growth” requirement.  I have heard too often how loyal customers lose out because “new” customers get a better deal.  We seem to have forgotten the lessons of the past when we heard how keeping an existing customer was seen as much easier than gaining a new one.

In a really strong CI environment organisations create a focus on the Voice of the Customer.  They do this through Respectful treatment of the customer and the staff in the organisation. They provide the structure to improve activities by Waste elimination and Variation reduction.  These four themes are the basis of the successful CI environment.  Practical implementation of these themes can cause huge positive disruption in an organisation.  We have been so focused on rushing in most organisations that the attention to detail for these themes is often seen as to challenging to embrace.  What I have seen in many organisations is that the rushing is increasing waste and variation and drives blame and only partial customer focus.  Partial in that, while giving some customers what they need we end up ignoring the ancillary business relationship requirements needed to develop customer loyalty such as service with a smile and after service follow up.  Worse, we often blame the customer for our woes and inadequate processes.

Understanding how to create this environment and drive success is part of what Stockil Continuous Improvement deliver as part of the certified programs in conjunction with CIT.

For over fifteen years we have been supporting people in getting ready for workplace improvement challenges.  The experienced team of educators we have assembled are all experienced in the typical challenges that a workplace can bring.  We have learned the hard way in many cases, and we now focus on bringing our experience to others in an effort to help them be prepared to move forward without the fear of uncertainty people inevitably experience.

Our focus is on educating and empowering people to ensure they can achieve their goals.  We do this using our approach to Continuous Improvement demonstrated through our courses and accredited by Cork Institute of Technology.  We cannot claim that the courses are easy.  They require commitment, effort and a willingness to think differently.  They are challenging but within your capability.  We are seeking to get people to believe in a process of improvement that will enable them to delivery better, faster results competitively in the long term.  However, we are your shadow, your mentor and being one of our alumni gains you access to our support.

There is a progression and suitable level for everyone.  We have over 2,000 alumni educated and it is growing.  We would be happy to share our experience and help you and your organisation develop a practical approach to improvement.

January registrations are now open for Black Belt, Green Belt and Yellow Belt in Dublin and Master Black Belt, Green Belt and Yellow Belt classes in Cork.  Contact us or find details on our courses page here.

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