Hello everybody! Jody Ann Johnson here with “Coffee with Jody” the 60th episode.  

Today we’re going to be talking about Continuous Improvement and Optimizing the Whole. 

 Continuous Improvement, which is the first LEAN Principle, let’s talk about the way you can implement this through daily incremental actions. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I used to be the kind of person, and sometimes I still have to fight it, that wants to go and do a whole bunch of work, wrap it all up in a box, put it on the shelf and be done. However that’s not the essence of this principle of Continuous Improvement. It’s the daily habit of actually sweeping, sorting, and standardizing to improve little by little, the processes in your business. They call it 3 S ing.  

For instance, there are roughly seven different business principles that you and I live and die by in our businessesYou might think of it as things like business development, invoicing and collections, for instance and you can fill out the ones that are unique to you, as you’re in different kinds of industriesthen going about identifying, where can we create improvements in those. The best examples of this that I’ve seen is the work by Paul Akers on his website and books on “Two Second LEAN” and “Banishing Sloppiness”. 

Those are great resourceshowever the essence of it is that it’s a daily practice and it is practiced throughout the entire team, a starting place is “Fixing What Bugs You”. That’s what we did throughout 2020 and are continuing to do now. That’s the essence of Continuous Improvement.  

As we shift over to Optimizing the Whole, there are a couple of other things that I want to share with you. You want to make everything in the company visible to the entire team. We do that by utilizing a number of tools. We use Asana and our daily huddles. Our daily huddles are half an hour, there’s all kinds of advice on how long they should be, ours are half an hour and we do it at eight o’clock in the morning, every single day, and have done it daily since April of last year.  

It allows us to all be on the same page. We do learning, we do a check-in, we do what we are grateful for, but what we’re really looking at is being in communication, the tools that we use throughout the day are Teams, and Asana. Asana is for the tasks and project management type of processes that we have and Teams to house our Wiki, and to be able to do instant messaging through Teams, which is a Microsoft office tool.  

So we are streamlining our communication and we are enabling visibility across the organization. The last one is how do you make faster and smarter decisions in the business and establish your customized KPIs? 

 KPIs – key performance indicators are those metrics that allow you to take actions to address those things that are affecting the performance and effectiveness in your business. Now, key performance indicators are typically lagging indicators. Daily conversations and weekly meetings allow you to be on top of it rather than a report that you get at the end of the quarter, or even at the end of the month when you can’t do anything about it. 

Another concept is that of critical drivers. I first heard about this concept from Keith Cunningham and his book, “The Blueprint to a Wildly Successful Business”. He talks about critical drivers as leading indicators. For example, if we need to have so many sales, what are the actions that need to happen before that, to make sure that those sales happen. Whether it’s lead generation or cold calling or following a sales process steps, whatever those processes are in your business.  

Continuous Improvement is a habit that builds momentum over time to give you capacity in building that momentum curve in your business. Optimizing the Whole can go anywhere from optimizing the whole of the organization all the way down to optimizing the whole of a particular process, such as client services. This allows you to utilize the resources effectively of your time, team and money. It allows for more profitable engagements, and it allows you to make better decisions faster. I hope that you see some actions that you can take in your business from this conversation. And if you do, I’d love to hear what they are.  

If you got value from this video, please share it, like it, subscribe and then put your comments in. We’ll be focusing on these Eight LEAN Principles throughout this month, and those are the first two.  

Bye for now.  

About the author,

With 14 years of experience in working with small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, Doug is committed to seeing business owners thrive. Business coaching is what drives Doug.

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