Organizations can always improve something. Nothing is ever flawless, no matter how much we wish it could be. If you accept this reality, you can help your team create an environment of continuous improvement.
When we accept that flaws exist, we provide the freedom to focus on improvement. When someone makes a mistake, correct it and continue on toward your objectives. Encourage your team to make suggestions for improvements in systems and processes without judgment or blame. It’s all about everyone working together to make the organization and its people more effective.
Working to consistently improve the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization requires everyone to contribute, and it’s not a specific event. It’s a way of working in an organizational culture that values learning.
You can build a culture of continuous improvement rather than relying on a particular project or initiative to explore opportunities to improve. Success comes when everyone in the organization constantly looks for those opportunities. It requires the acceptance that nothing and no one is ever perfect — whether a process, product, or a person — and all can continually evolve.
In the past, Chin’s IT team hadn’t done much to celebrate their accomplishments. When they achieved their objectives, they quickly moved onto the next without stopping to recognize what they had done as a team.
For the first time, the IT organization had created a shared vision, and the leadership team praised them for creating it. I knew how hard they had worked to get there, so I asked Chin what they were going to do to celebrate this milestone. He was surprised by the question. “I hadn’t thought about doing that,” he said.
I reminded him about the importance of rewarding and recognizing his team, and this was a significant accomplishment. He did want to do something fun with the team, but he didn’t think they would be interested. I suggested he ask them how they would want to celebrate.
Chin wanted to use the celebration as an opportunity to both recognize their accomplishment and reward those who contributed the most. The team organized a reception that included all the employees in their division, where Chin awarded prizes to those who contributed the most to the project.
Executive Leader Action Plan
What ideas do you have to improve your organization?
How can you encourage others to share their ideas for improvement?
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~ Maria Robinson
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