Continuous Improvement – Why Better beats Best
We are living in a world of silver bullets and magically instant solutions.
Or are we?
Are the weight loss pills, success seminars, or shiny phones that will complete our lives really helping us, or are they like painkillers, temporary solutions to symptoms without addressing the underlying causal issues?
Are we destined to keep treating symptoms or can we keep moving the needle on the underlying issues, and start preventing symptoms entirely?
What is Continuous Improvement really?
Continuous improvement as a concept is about making small, regular changes over time that move us towards our goal and help reduce, or even eliminate, the negative symptoms we’ve been experiencing.
It’s the difference between doing 15 hours in the gym today and never going back, and doing 30 minutes 4 days a week for a year, two years, a decade. Those incremental improvements are going to make a difference down the track.
It’s about being better. Not better than anyone else, a comparison that doesn’t take us anywhere good. Instead, being better than we were yesterday. It’s about making small improvements that over time move us towards our goals. It’s also about doing the work.
As Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson puts it:
“It’s not enough to want it, you have to go get it. And the only way is Through The Work.”
When we have a focus on continuous improvement, it allows us to set bigger goals, be more audacious in our pursuits, and avoid letting perfection stop us from being good.
How to apply it in the context of your business
Too often we see bandaid solutions being applied to broad problems. New ‘out of the box’ CRM’s that are going to solve sales problems. Leadership teams being taken through a 2-day workshop, or digital transformation projects that roll out over 3 months and are never spoken of again.
Sure, a new CRM is great but investing a few hours a week in sales coaching will drive lasting improvements in your sales process. Maybe not today, maybe not this month, but instead of a sales spike you’re more likely to see a new standard that’s always just a little bit better than last month.
And I’m not suggesting that leaders shouldn’t attend workshops or that digital transformation projects shouldn’t happen. The question though is what small thing can be done every day or every week that helps your leaders improve or keeps that digital transformation project yielding improvements?
Instead of trying to change the world permanently with the new silver bullet solution, let’s start with one thing we can do today that will make our business better than yesterday.
A few wise words
There is no part of your life or your business that wouldn’t benefit from this approach. So no matter what you’re working on, just follow these simple steps.
- Set your goal
- Ask yourself ‘is it better than it was before?’
- Do the work to keep answering that question with “yes”
Do that and never let perfect be the enemy of your progress again.
Want to see my journey of continuous improvement have a look at the blog series below that tells the rapid story so far.