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Jim’s Gems: Encourage Continuous Improvement

January 13, 2014
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Last week we were discussing organization change, total quality management, and continuous improvement with a group of managers. The jest of that discussion which focused on deployment issues might be of interest to many readers of this weekly blog.

 

Managers who want quality from their workforce need to hold themselves to the same high standards as they hold their staff and lower levels of the organization.  There is an old saying that applies to this tenet,  "What's good for the goose, is good for the gander" - or, it should be.

                         

In the quest for total quality, positive change, and continuous improvement, many managers forget about the role that they play in bringing these things about. They overlook the baggage they bring to work every day but expect their staff to leave their baggage at the door and be totally focused and committed.  This also holds true when a new corporate ethic is initiated, but continue to behave as they always have because they don't really think the new standard applies to them. I’d guess the vast majority of people reading this have noticed this at some point.

 

Generally, the companies that are doing better than their competition are characterized by management that is more receptive to change and new ideas, including those generating from internal sources.  The companies that will be leaders into the future will be the ones led by managers who can do what is currently considered unusual and do it comfortably.

 

These managers are risk takers in their professional, as well as in their personal lives. They see themselves intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, economically as experiments in continuous improvement.  In other words, they walk the talk.

 

Change typically starts at the top but it can also be stopped there unless management makes a sincere effort to take its own standards of excellence to heart. What can you do as a manager or as an employee to encourage continuous improvement? The answers may not be profound but likely they will be enlightening and potentially have a dramatic effect on performance – individually as well as corporately.

Think about it.

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