I read something the other day suggesting that people often get into a routine and eventually lose the drive that got them to where they are. This was in reference to their careers but the same thing often happens to organisations who begin an improvement program, make significant improvements and then relapse into the routine of the new norm.
This is fine, if the new norm is a culture of continuous improvement where people are regularly identifying new problems through the systems in place, solving these problems quickly and sharing out the new knowledge with the rest of the organisation.
In most cases though, the improvement program was too specific, focused on solving only 1 business problem or if it was focused on changing the business entirely, it is often the case that after a certain amount of change & improvement, complacency kicks in & people think that the benefits gained thus far are enough.
Continuous improvement is just that, constant changes reducing the time or effort required to complete tasks. Regardless of the task or the type of business, it is the culture where people are sufficiently empowered & take real ownership of what they do. Not just following the rules set by management, but actively partaking in the analysis & improvement of their processes.
We can all get comfortable with how things are, lose site of the opportunities and relax knowing that we are profitable as an organization. However, it has been said many times, what got you here will not necessarily take you forward. The world is constantly changing, failure to change & adapt with it results in failures of organisations. History is filled with organisations that weren’t sufficiently dynamic to keep pace with the outside world.
Leadership is about coaching people to create better systems, solve problems that arise & share the knowledge gained. It is also about motivation & keeping people focused on improvement, not just hitting the numbers or following the rules, but challenging the status quo.
Are you settled with your organization as it is, are things as good as they could be? Or are you out there pushing for better? We all know which delivers greater results for longer…