A culture of continuous improvement is essential especially for a small business that needs to run lean. Depending on your industry and the governmental or economic changes that influence it, you’ll want to build your team’s capability to powerfully navigate changes.
Yet, researchers report record failures in many process improvement initiatives. Why do they fail?
There are many factors that can cause your improvement initiatives to fail, including your company’s culture, your selection of the process to improve, and lack of follow through.
To ensure your process improvement initiatives are successful, keep this simple checklist in mind:
1. Get Your Team Involved in Selecting the Process to Improve
As a business leader who is scaling your business, you have a number of things on your plate. You may even want to direct your team on exactly which process to improve. Instead, make sure everyone is on board with why you want to improve certain processes.
You have the vision for your company. It’s important for you to communicate the vision so everyone understands what’s most important and can get behind why you want to improve the processes.
Once you’ve communicated the vision and everyone has a good idea of where you want to be, get your team involved in identifying, prioritizing, and improving the processes.
When you involve your team, you start to create a company culture that focuses on continuous improvement. Empower them by having them take ownership of the overall process.
2. Identify Rolls When Identifying a Process to Improve
While you are the leader of the project, you may not be the person who facilitates the team that is improving the identified process. Select a person who will be in charge of the meetings, facilitate the discussion, and create action plans with timeframes on when the process will be improved.
They will be your point person and responsible for the project. The timeline for improving the process doesn’t have to take long, but having a point person directing the project can free up your schedule to focus on the strategies of your business.
3. Keep the New Process in Existence
Even though you enrolled your team in a common vision, doesn’t mean the enrollment in that vision stays present. Whether you are communicating a vision or improving a new process, make sure you keep the vision and the new process in existence.
To ensure your vision stays present and the new process becomes a habit, use a section of your team’s meeting to review and retrain if necessary. During a team meeting, have your team explain the new process to you rather than you telling them the process. In this way, you can listen for any retraining that might be necessary.
Your company’s single largest investment is your team. If process improvement initiatives are going to work involve them and recognize their achievements. When you do, watch as you create a culture of distinction that others will want to join.