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Continuous Improvement and Change Management

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Posted 26 March 2013 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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These can be tailored to your specific needs.
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You may find the following will help with your change management skills.

Continuous improvement and change management

Here is an interesting question:

What must we do in order to improve the current situation?

Let me make an assumption about your current situation.
You would like it to be better.

Everyone wants, and some of us need to improve on the current situation.

If your current situation is good, you would still like to make it better.
And if your current situation is not good, then you will need to make it better.

We are all interested in improvement.

Here is the rule I would like to suggest we live by:

No matter what is the current situation, improvement is always possible and should be taken.
This rule is important. We can call it "the law of continuous improvement".
The reason why this law is important to you is because there is a second law; it is this:
Left to themselves things will deteriorate.
Scientists have noted that, unless energy is poured into a thing or a system, then everything and every system tends to decay and become worse.

For example;
if you don't put any time and effort into your garden it does not stay the same, it gets more disorganised and chaotic.
If you don't put any time and effort to maintain your car it will become run down and will eventually break down.
If you don't put any time or effort into your health then you will more quickly run down and will eventually fall ill.
If you leave a hot drink on the side, it gets cold.
If you don't use a memory, it fades.

Whatever skill you don't use, you lose.

Unless you exert an effort then things will get worse.
Therefore doing nothing is not "nothing".

Doing nothing is a recipe for disaster because if everything has a tendency towards disorder, then doing nothing invites decay and disaster.
Staying the same is impossible.

If you are not trying to improve then you will fall behind.

At all times one must exert an effort.

Charles Darwin called this: the struggle for existence.

Because the laws of nature are such that whatever you leave unattended tends to become less organised, then it is vital that, every day, you do more than enough to merely maintain. You must improve and perfect.

Continuous change and continuous improvement are linked.

Continuous change

The world is always changing because;
Everything is moving, relative to everything else.
Time is always passing and everything is aging.
Technology is advancing and that means that what you knew and what you did last year, may not work this year.
So you have to exert an effort simply to keep what you've got.
And if you want your situation to improve relative to what you have today, then you must initiate even more change.

Continuous improvement

Continuous improvement is the philosophy that no matter what you have now, it could be improved upon, and therefore it should be improved upon.

The method of continuous improvement.

By what means can we involve ourselves in the process of continuous improvement?
The process of continuous improvement is summed up by a five step process.

That five step process is summarised by five words:

Purpose, plan, action feedback and change.

Purpose

Your purpose is the desired state.
Your desired state is in the future and is to be compared to your current state.
Your desired future state is better than your current state.
The difference between your desired state and your current state is both; "your problem" and "your opportunity".

Plan

Your plan is the document that you will write that will lay out the steps that you need to take if you are to close the gap between your desired state and your current state.
Your plan will be the product of information and logic.
The information will be the information relating to everything known about the problem space.
The logic will be how you think about that information and therefore the quality of the conclusions that you draw.
The logical thought you apply to the planning is, itself, divided into, three types of logical thought.

  1. Inductive logic
  2. Deductive logic
  3. Creative logic

Inductive logic: is looking at facts and drawing general conclusions from them.

For example you may look at your prices and compare them to the prices charged by your competition and come to the conclusion that you are too cheap.

Deductive logic: deductive logic is applying a general principle to a specific case.

For example you might know the general principle that you should not invest your money in countries that have statist governments as they may, at any time, change their laws and appropriate your investments. See Cyprus and Spain for details.

Creative logic: is the use of your imagination to come up with a new and unique idea as a solution to your problem. Ideas out of thin air!

Some people call it blue sky thinking.

Action

Action is the ability to get yourself to do something as opposed to waiting.
Taking action is the opposite of Procrastination.
Taking action is the opposite of Paralysis by analysis.
Taking action is the opposite of Fear.
Taking action is the opposite of Evasion.

The ability to act is what transforms a plan of action into energy.

Science defines "Energy" as "the ability to do work"!
As soon as you do anything you will get some results.
Those results are to be regarded as your feedback.

Feedback

Feedback is information that compares the results you're getting to the results that you desired.
Feedback comes in two forms:

Positive feedback: which means you are getting what you desired from your actions, (or better).
Negative feedback: which means you are not getting what you desired from your actions, or worse.

If you are not getting what you desired or worse from your actions: then that means you must change.

Change

Change means change the plan and change the actions.
Change could be of two different types:

  1. Evolutionary change
  2. Revolutionary change

Evolutionary change:

Means there is no need to throw out the old plan completely; rather it means, alter, adapt or modify your existing plan and improve on what plan already exists.

Revolutionary change:

Means there is an urgent need to throw out the old plan completely; we throw it out and start again from scratch.

Evolutionary changes: Are step by step, small changes that are easy to implement and are easily reversible. Evolutionary change takes place over an extended period of time and tends to build confidence.

Revolutionary changes are: radical and not step by step, they are not easy to implement and they are not easily reversible. Revolutionary change takes place over a short period of time and tends to shake confidence.

The formulas to memorise from this blog are as follows:

Continuous improvement

No matter what is the current situation, improvement is always possible and should be taken.

Continuous change

Everything is moving, relative to everything else.
Time is always passing; everything is aging; technology is advancing and that means that what you knew and what you did last year, may not work this year.
The process of continuous improvement is summed up by a five step process.

That five step process is summarised by five words:

Purpose, plan, action, feedback and change.

Change could be of two different types:

Evolutionary change
Revolutionary change

You need to be able to:
Commit to continuous improvement.
Accept that staying the same is not an option.
Define your desired future state.
Formulate detailed and logical plans of action.
Overcome procrastination.
Take action.

Be aware of what is not working.
Be willing to evolve and adapt.

On occasions, be willing to throw out the old plan completely; we will throw it out and start again from scratch.

For more information about our continuous improvement and change management training courses visit the Corporate Coach Group website

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