Sustaining a path of continuous improvement and growth can be the ultimate challenge for any organization. Whether you’re a Lean organization or not, continuous growth is something that all should strive for. However, it’s easier said than done. Which is why we at Creative Safety Publishing have come up with our own 10 Commandments For Continuous Growth to help organizations in their pursuit of continuous growth and improvement.
The commandments are a reminder that continuous growth is about human behavior, not numbers or technical skills and knowledge. As you read through these commandments, think of how you can personally adapt or change to help your organization stay on the path of growth and improvement.
The 10 Commandments For Continuous Growth
- Keep an open mind
- If there’s a will there’s a way
- Fault the process not the people
- Find the simple answer to solve complex issues
- If it’s broken, fix it
- The strength of an imagination is stronger than any dollar amount
- Problems are springboards to opportunities
- Solve root causes with the five “whys”
- Collaborate minds instead of isolating them
- The continuous improvement path is ongoing and has limitless potential
Each of these commandments provides a unique , yet simple perspective to focus on. Lean and other improvement processes can range from complex principles and tools, to simple common sense formulas. However at the root of all of them, is the people and culture that lead your organization down the path of continuous improvement.
Here’s a closer look at each commandment and what it means to the process and culture of an organization.
1. Keep an Open Mind
It takes a lot of courage to take an idea from the mind to the open market. Employees that are nervous of being criticized or treated with sarcasm, will keep their ideas to themselves. However, if you have instilled the mindset that your organization has an open mind to new ideas and are willing to look at any and all ideas, employees will be much more willing to not only submit ideas, but work harder at coming up with ideas as well.
2. If There’s a Will There’s a Way
Some objections and obstacles can seem insurmountable, but the reality is, if there’s a will there’s a way. Just tell a three-year-old they can’t do something they have their mind set on. I guarantee they come up with a million reasons why they can. If you believe that something can be done, it will. It no longer becomes a matter of if, but when. Stop finding reasons why you can’t do something and find out how you can.
3. Fault the Process Not the People
When you fault an individual for a flaw or mistake, you take the risk of damaging the character of the individual and the culture of the organization. Regardless of the human error made, you have to look at the process that put the individual in the situation to make the error. Why was the person in that situation in the first place?
Putting the blame on the individual can potentially damage the employees confidence to do the job correctly the next time. Also, can lead to them disengaging themselves from the culture you’re trying to establish and unwilling to make future contributions to new ideas.
4. Find the Simple Answer to Complex Issues
All to often, when we are faced with a complex issue we automatically start to think through complex solutions. However, this often leads to even bigger problems and takes valuable time to implement. When you take a step back and start with the simple solutions first, the results can be a serious game changer. If you start out thinking there’s a simple solution for everything, your efficiency and problem solving skills will go up.
5. If it’s Broken, Fix It
Not only is putting off broken items unsafe, but it is extremely damaging to your culture. If others see you putting things aside and not taking improvement seriously, then they will follow right along in your footsteps. Small problems should be addressed and fixed immediately, while larger issues should have a plan of action developed right away to get the ball rolling.
6. The Strength of an Imagination is Stronger Than Any Dollar Amount
The New York Yankees might have the highest payroll in baseball every year, but it certainly doesn’t buy them a championship ring at the end of the season. However, what will get you fitted for a ring at the end of the year is the ability for like minds to come together and build a culture around chemistry. To get the desired chemistry in your culture, you need to be able to let imaginations flow. The sixth commandment is a reminder that money can’t buy your way into continuous improvement, but you can use the creativity and imaginations of your staff to build a foundation of improvement that’s built to last.
7. Problems are Springboards to Opportunities
Problems are not a negative. In fact, they should be seen as a positive. Instead of getting discouraged when a problem arises, think of it as an opportunity to add value to your organization. Be grateful that you have an opportunity to make improvements to your organization and continue down the path towards perfection.
8. Solve Root Causes With the Five “Whys”
You can never leave a root cause unattended. The Lean process of asking “why” five times (or however many times it takes) is a proven method that helps get to even the most complex root causes in the most efficient manner. Asking “why” also eliminates the blame game that can often happen when you ask “who,” or “how,” or “what.” Be efficient and engage your staff without the fear of being reprimanded, ask “why.”
9. Collaborate Minds Instead of Isolating Them
The ability for an organization to improve is dependent upon the culture and feedback the employees provide. There is no dictatorship in continuous improvement. You have to have an open door policy for the flow of information to spread and allow opportunities for employees to come together and collaborate ideas. This might be number nine on the list, but in no way does that reflect significance. The power of collaboration is untouchable. This is the ultimate culture building and information gathering experience for everyone to benefit from.
10. The Continuous Improvement Path is Ongoing and Has Limitless Potential
There is no map to continuous improvement, no final destination, no endpoint, no last hooray. The word continuous is defined has having no interruption or break in the path. For us at Creative Safety Publishing, this means there is no end to continuous improvement or the methods used to get there. There are no limits to improvement using this mentality. Anything and everything can be improved and once it’s been improved, it’s time to look at how to improve it again — and again.