Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve systems, processes and people. Continuous improvement is seen as a process of constant, incremental improvements rather than major strategic change. It is depicted as a cycle, rather than a straight line, because a circle has no end.
Continuous improvement is a cycle of learning, always looking for ways to do better by:
- Monitoring and measuring performance
- Looking for ways to improve performance – even if there is nothing actually wrong
- Testing ideas and evaluating whether they should be implemented
- Implementing the improvement
- Looking for ways that this improvement will lead to further improvements
A manager is said to “facilitate” continuous improvement because the ideas are most likely to be generated by their team. The team are on the front line. They perform the actual processes and are in a good position to see small changes that can lead to improvement. The manager also facilitates continuous improvement of employees by offering opportunities, encouragement and support to develop and grow.
Share your thoughts on why it is important to involve employees in the continuous improvement process.