It’s that time of year to look back and review if all the good intentions created at the end of last year are still standing the test of time. Is the new mind-set of going to the gym, eating healthier, or managing a better work-life balance still holding strong? Hopefully the answer is yes! But can the same be said for the promises about those changes needed at work?
Anyone who has achieved success through applying continuous improvement will know that it takes the same determination and constancy of focus as it does to improve personal goals. Much like eating healthier, or developing a workout regime, once you are ‘in the groove’, over time, you feel benefit without the added effort of wondering how to get going – it just happens. This is exactly the same for establishing a learning culture with your employees.
Included is a 5-point plan to remind you of some of the leadership attributes that will give your employees reassurance of your commitment to improvement, and promote the right behaviours to stimulate a learning environment for your team.
Coach Rather Than Instruct
Engage your staff to solve problems for themselves, so they get the self-gratification and your time isn’t consumed. Walk with them down the road of developing possible solutions through asking the right questions rather than giving them a solution, or worse taking the problem from them. Sacrificing a few extra minutes the first time, will gain you hours in the long term and a more capable team.
Encourage Employees to Challenge the Norm
If you want radially different results this year, then you may have to do radically different things! As the saying goes, doing what you always have done, will give you want you have always got. Encourage your teams creatively, to consider what is really needed to achieve stretch goals and not be necessarily constrained by purely what you can do today.
Energise and enthuse your team by taking an interest in an improvement activity they are doing. Attend an event (or part of) and show your keenness for them to stretch their thinking and use their knowledge that normally goes untapped. Visit where the improvement is happening and offer your support. You will be amazed how a small amount of your time can encourage others to invest much more.
Only Start When You Are Ready To Start
Only begin an improvement project when you can commit to the right people being ready to support. Too many delays, false starts, switching of resources, only demeans the importance and can counteract any positive energy developed. Similar to only launching a product when you have the right parts available, it’s the same for any improvement activity.
Accountable and Responsible
Ensure people are clear on roles. The project lead is responsible for progressing the project and the management sponsor is accountable for ensuring the results are delivered. Too often, all is left solely to the project leader and the overwhelming effect means it typically falters.
Keep focused on the above 5 points and you will find your team will grow in ambition and confidence to deliver more improvements for your business objectives.
Wishing you a fun and productive year of continuous improvement!