Is Your Company Striving for Continuous Improvement?

Company culture

“Continuous improvement” is a term you can hear quite often these days in various contexts, and even though it might sound a bit overhyped, it’s definitely worth looking into for a number of reasons. If you’re in charge of leading a company and driving its development forward, you should take the time to evaluate your current practices, and figure out if you’re really striving for continuous improvement as much as you could be.

Because the truth is, you can often do much better than you are at the moment, and it doesn’t take that much effort to change things to this end. All you need is to know what areas of your operations you should focus on most if you want to ensure that the organization will keep improving over time and, of course, take appropriate actions.

Deprecating Outdated Processes

Many companies have the common problem of sticking to outdated processes simply because they don’t want to pause their current operations in order to potentially improve them. There is often a lot that can be done to trim some fat from your current process line, and you should always be on the lookout for opportunities in this regard.

This also means that you should have a more critical approach to evaluating these processes from time to time and think hard about whether you need to do things a certain way. Often, exploring some options for changes to your base processes could lead you to the discovery of some particularly important ideas that you were not aware of previously.

Exploring New Grounds Carefully

It’s good for a business to try out new ideas and explore new areas of operation, but this should be done in a careful, controlled manner without stepping too far. Make sure to use a lot of analytics and collect as much information as you can about any new areas you might be considering moving into. We have many options in this regard these days, and it’s important to take full advantage of them.

Pay special attention to any moves your competitors might be making in this regard. If you see another company trying to introduce certain changes to their operations and failing, you shouldn’t automatically discard that option. Rather, take a deeper look into that particular situation and try to figure out what went wrong for them so you can avoid that issue.

Adequate Training on All Levels

Lacking a solid training foundation is a common problem that many organizations suffer from, and it’s not easy to find a solution to it if the company has already grown to a large size. That’s why you should never postpone setting up a good training system that allows new employees to get integrated into your workflow as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

From sales training to development certificates and accounting – you can arrange for your employees to be taught pretty much anything you can think of, as long as you know what companies are available for this purpose, and what their rates are. And don’t forget internal training as well – there’s no substitute for having your employees learn from their peers, especially when it comes to more complicated processes that have to be carried out in a strict manner. Check out available courses and find ones that suit your needs and budget.

Integrating Feedback Efficiently

Disregarding the various bits of feedback that the market constantly produces for you is another commonly observed issue that’s usually not that difficult to address in the first place. You likely already have access to a lot of information about how your customers perceive your services and products, so all you have to do is sort that data in an appropriate manner, and start going through it on a regular basis to see what your customers might be interested in.

Modern data analysis tools can prove extremely effective in this area, providing you with insights that you would normally never be able to get on your own. And even though much of this technology is still in a relatively early phase, it’s still capable of spotting relationships between data points in massive sets much better than any human – or team of humans – ever could.

This also means that you’ll have to deal with inappropriate feedback far less often, as your analytical tools will be able to filter out this type of data before you’ve even had a chance to go through it yourself. Of course, you should be careful with how you’re setting up these types of processes, as having them run too aggressively can be dangerous. You don’t want to miss out on any important comments because your system filtered them out!

Even Data That You Can’t Analyze May Still Be Useful

On the topic of data analysis, it’s also important to note that you should hold on to the data you’re currently gathering as best as you can. Even if you’re not able to process it and deduce anything meaningful from it at the moment, this could change very fast thanks to the rapid advances in this corner of the technological world.

And considering that storing data is cheap and accessible, you really have no good reason to delete massive chunks of what you’ve collected simply because it seems irrelevant right now. Many companies have caught on to this and have started to gather massive data sets over time, hoping to be able to process them more efficiently in the near future. The time when they will have the capability to do that is likely not that far away, either, so it won’t take too long before we see who’s set themselves up the best.

Growth Is Not Always Good

Be careful with how you’re handling the growth of your organization. More is not always better, especially in the context of spreading yourself too thin when investing resources into the project. It’s common to see small companies go through a period of explosive growth because they’ve hit a temporary lucky trend that brings a lot of attention their way. However, if the company is not adequately equipped to handle that growth in the long term, this can quickly lead to disaster, especially in more competitive business fields.

On the other hand, failing to seize the opportunity to expand into a lucrative new area can sometimes cost you your entire business in the long run, so you have to find a good middle ground between the two extremes. Continuous improvement means that you’ll want to see growth over time one way or another, but it’s important that you’re able to take control of that growth and do something meaningful with it, rather than being a passive observer and hoping for the best.

And, of course, always keep yourself informed. Not only on established trends in your field but on new developments that may or may not stick in the future. Good leaders should always be aware of their respective industries and their dynamics, even when the information you’re learning doesn’t directly impact the work you’re doing right now. With time, you’ll start noticing certain trends in your field, and you’ll know what to expect from specific developments that previously seemed like a black box to you. And with that, you’ll always know what to do to help your company grow even further and see even more improvements.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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