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So you think your company is good enough to stop concentrating on continuous improvement………..really…..do you really believe that. Instead of reflecting internally, lets look at others.
Do you know of a company that is currently good enough that they can stop focusing on continuously improving operations and still be among the best companies in their marketplace next year? How about 3 years from now? 5 years? I don’t, probably because no company, no matter how good they currently, can rest on their laurels and expect to remain ahead of their competition. What would your competition think if you decided to rest on your laurels. I suspect they would be delighted to taking market share from you.
But we do lose our focus. It’s natural after years of hard work we deserve a break now and then. Continuous improvement is very hard work and can be overlooked for all it adds to your organization when exhaustion sets in. What happened to our energy and focus? What happened to all that enthusiasm your team had when you began your lean journey? What happened to the action that used to regularly immediately follow an idea? Are they running out of ideas for improvement……..in the “we already did or tried that” psychological slump?
I have a rule of thumb: Anytime you think your operations are good enough you are wrong. Everyone has problems and if they stop looking for/at the problems they will slowly – or perhaps not so slowly – lose their competitive edge. Once companies lose their competitive edge it is very challenging to get it back, and takes much longer than we think it will. After-all, if you have lost your edge, your people may think you have given up and trust can be lost. Value adders may think leadership has given up.
Earning trust back requires patience, consistency, honesty and courage. Most of us have all we can do to handle big problems and when the big problems stop screaming at us we think we are ok. Be honest, most companies have that tendency……..if it doesn’t hurt now, things are ok, just some minor issues, keep working around them so we can make this months quota. We can look at fixing those small things later. Problem is, those small things add up and suddenly we have big problems.
I believe that not improving is not an option? Without continuously improving someone will take your business. EVEN THOUGH …..This everybody – everyday thing is hard work we need everybody working on improvement every day.
What can we do when our continuous improvement efforts have run out of gas? How can we re-invigorate our people, the ones who got us to where we are today.
Leaders…….now is your time to lead. Take command, create focus in your team, energize them through support and intention. If the weather is hot, buy your people ice cream.
What are your thoughts? Please share them.