Updated: May 1, 2019
OK! You’ve decided to start out on your journey of continuous improvement. You understand that the status quo is no longer acceptable. You want to get better at what you do – provide more value to your customers, increase efficiency and profits, reduce waste, eliminate mistakes, create greater stability & opportunity for your team. Now what?
When you set out to do a job, you start by selecting the proper tools. Going to build a joint of rectangular duct? You’re going to need a hammer. However, when your job is to start practicing continuous improvement, trying to pick the right tools can seem daunting. Between Lean Manufacturing, Kaizen, Toyota Production System and Six Sigma, there are a lot of toolsets to choose from. Not only that, many of them feel foreign and clunky. Where do you even focus to know how to start?
The reality is that when it comes to continuous improvement, it’s not about the tools – it’s about your culture. You may be relieved to hear that the actual work involved is very methodical and common sense. It doesn’t take a college degree or a karate belt to be successful. The nuts and bolts are important but it’s the people behind the process that we should be focused on.
At HVAC Duct Manufactures Association, we’ve developed our own unique take on the principles of Lean Manufacturing: ContinuoUs Improvement. Too many times, we have seen organizations try and fail to adopt continuous improvement into their culture because they forgot the critical component: the Us. Here are three foundational elements of ContinuoUs Improvement:
Lean gets fun when we roll up our sleeves together.
One key to creating a ContinuoUs Improvement culture in your organization is for everyone to join in the process together. When we team up with those around us, bringing our ideas to the table and solving problems together, not only does it accelerate the process of improvement, it’s fun. Even addictive!
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
This quote from Ken Blanchard sums up a foundational point of ContinuoUs Improvement culture. As leaders, we have to come to terms with the fact that we don’t have all the answers. Titles don’t matter. Living this quote out in your culture requires large amounts of humility and openness on the team. When we can understand and accept it as truth, it opens up the doors to true innovations that leave enormous positive, lasting impacts.
Share your genius.
Involve all the brains you can to create the most innovative solutions. When we’re focused on a problem, we often have our blinders on, unable to focus or see anything outside of it. When we can bring in fresh eyes and brains to our problems, it can provide us with the fresh ideas and perspective needed to solve them. For our culture to be successful, it’s critical that we tap into the genius of those around us and encourage all our people to share out.
At the end of the day, creating a people-centric culture of ContinuoUs Improvement is the key to realizing the long-term benefits of your improvement efforts. If you’re interested in learning more about how to implement and sustain a ContinuoUs Improvement culture in your organization, we are here to help. The HVAC Duct Manufacturers Association was formed to provide support to manufacturers committed to the process of getting better. Reach out, get involved, or just keep reading. We are here to guide you as you adopt ContinuoUs Improvement into your leadership and your company culture.