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How can We Continually Improve Our Results?

How can we continually improve our results?

How can we continually improve our results?

We can continually improve our results, only if we continually improve our performance.

Performance is the sum of four elements (SOS>C).

  1. Self - Your performance.
  2. Others -The performance of the people around you.
  3. System - The systems that we build and use.
  4. Context - The political, economic and social context in which we operate.

Continuous improvement training is about working on all of these things, in that order.

Continuous improvement training is predominantly a personal development programme. If we each improve our own personal performance; and if we inspire an improved performance from our colleagues; and if we build better systems; then we will be able to make continuous improvements; no matter what the changing context brings to us.

The purpose of continuous improvement training is to initiate a process of rapid improvement, by means of achieving a shared understanding of the correct principles of continuous improvement.

What is Continuous Improvement?

Continuous improvement is a system of thought, based on the idea that, no matter what the current situation, improvement is always possible - and therefore should be made.

The continuous improvement principle must be put into practice daily, in a never-ending quest to improve in three ways.

We call this the S.O.S. principle: Self; Others; System.

  1. SELF: Improve ourselves as individuals: our individual actions.
  2. OTHERS: Improve the actions of others: group actions.
  3. SYSTEM: Improve our systems.

Continuous improvement is a progressive principle:

  1. Continuous improvement is a rejection of stagnation.
  2. Continuous improvement is a rejection of pessimism.

Continuous improvement has a mind-set that is "happy - but never quite satisfied".

Examples of Continuous Improvement

1. The automotive industry

The automotive industry builds cars that improve every year. The industry is constantly innovating.

The industry is continually striving to keep up with technological advances, legislation relating to self-drive cars, emissions, performance, customer expectations and the competition from other forms of transport.

2. Sports

In sports, we have Olympic Games. The Olympic ideal is founded on the principle of continuous improvement. And so, in the last Olympic games, in Rio de Janeiro, nineteen new world records were set.

Why can we expect that Olympic records will be broken? Because ambitious athletes from around the world are endlessly striving to improve upon the best.

3. Medicine

The same attitude of mind is prevalent in the scientific community; for example, in the medical industry. Each year, there are new breakthroughs in pharmacology, immunology, surgery, biotechnology, genetics and every other medical specialism. We can expect a steady flow of new treatments and new techniques to become available in the decades to come.

4. Communications industry

The communications industry is the best example of continuous improvement. The printing press was invented in 1454 by Johannes Gutenberg. The invention of the printing press ignited an explosion in the exchange of ideas and information. That in turn, led to the Enlightenment, the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution; and to the explosive progression of technology, science and information that has continued, unabated, ever since.

And the rate of improvement is increasing.

There are now so many advances in communications technology that it is difficult to keep up. When you buy a piece of electronic equipment, by the end of that same year, your machine is old-fashioned in comparison with the latest model.

The Continuous Improvement Attitude

Sadly, some people are NOT interested in the concept of continuous improvement. Some people do not share in this philosophy of self-conscious progression.

Instead, many people actively resist any suggestion that they should go to work to improve the quality of their performance and to try to beat their personal best.

The mind-set needed for continuous improvement is: To be always happy - but never satisfied

  • First Law. Be happy.
  • Second Law. Don't be satisfied.

Continuous improvement includes being happy. You are happy because you know that you are already in a good place (compared to some). But you are never satisfied, because you also know that your potential for progress is never exhausted.

There are always some realms where improvement is still possible - and should be made.

In addition to this maxim, there are the following tenants of the mind-set of a continuous improver:

  1. Methodical.
  2. Progressive.
  3. Intelligent.
  4. Serious.


You know that improvement is made by evolutionary advance: building on the past and making small incremental changes over time.

So, every day you are looking for small steps for improvement.

Keep accurate records and strive to improve on your best.


Simply repeating what you did last time, does not drive progress.

If you did ten last month, then strive to beat ten this month.

Do more or do better, or; do more AND better!

Don't repeat the same methods. Don't do what you did last year: innovate and improve. Progress is the name of the game!


Progression is not the result of favour or chance; progression is the natural result of proper thinking.

Regression is, by a similar process, not a thing of casual bad luck: but is the result of neglect; the failure to think progressively.

Thinking must be purposeful, informed and designed to achieve progress.

Compete with your last best performance.

Many people lose, simply because they use a fraction of their potential.


Take continuous improvement seriously. This does not imply being "grim".

Serious people are not grim. Serious people often have a smile on their face, but they take things seriously.

Make measurable progress in reasonable time

Use all your potential and strive to be the best version of you that is possible.

Please read the following questions and score yourself, or your organisation, out of 10, for each question. Total your score for a final percentage.

  1. How would you rate yourself for the attribute of being goal-focused
  2. How would you rate own personal ability to communicate clearly?
  3. How would you rate your ability to prioritise tasks?
  4. How would you rate your ability to think creatively?
  5. How would you rate your ability to bounce back from a series of defeats?
  6. How would you rate your ability to give criticism to others?
  7. How would you rate your ability to take criticism from others?
  8. How would you rate your ability to make adaptive changes?
  9. To what degree do you think we should improve things that are already good, and are not yet considered in any way "broken"?
  10. To what degree are you a keen advocate of continuous improvement?

Remember: Clarity of purpose (goal focus) is the first step to all achievement.

Continuous Improvement Training

If you are interested in more information, please check out our one-day Continuous Improvement Training Course.

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Personal Development Training

In order to improve your performance, you may need to develop your personal and professional skills: meaning: skills of communication, planning, prioritisation, motivation and personal confidence. If you want to learn more, then click here for personal development training.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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