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Continuously improve

Challenge the status quo! A meticulous pursuit of betterment sets us apart by making decisions faster, responding to our customers quicker and being more opportunistic. Embrace challenges, criticism and diversity in thought as the basis for improvement for ourselves, our customers, our communities and our planet.


The Japanese term Kaizen directly translates to ‘improvement’ or ‘change for the better’, but its definition is far more complex and nuanced. In essence, Kaizen refers to the concept that constant, even slight, positive changes can lead to major improvements further down the line.

Creating an environment or ecosystem that supports this process need not be overly complex or difficult, and we have ample examples we can turn to as a source of inspiration.

1) Include everyone
Everyone means everyone. One key element of Kaizen, which was famously foundational to the ‘Toyota Way’, is to involve every employee, from the CEO all the way down. Everyone needs to be part of this communal and combined effort in order for it to succeed and for it to become commonplace in the workplace.

If your goal is to improve together as a team, making sure that you are working as a team is important. When embarking on a journey to improve your team you should focus on some team-building exercises or even conduct some kind of social activity to help your team get to know each other.

2) Encourage encouragement
People need to be encouraged and inspired to improve, it won’t come with fear or intimidation. If you trust your hiring process then your workplace will likely feature people who have the drive and ambition to produce strong and high-quality work. Providing them with the support and backing they need to reach their own personal goals will be crucial in ensuring continuous improvement.

3) Be transparent
Transparency can mean a number of different things but in this case, it heavily relates to the aforementioned point about including everyone. Creating an environment where business decisions and strategies are openly discussed and walked through will go a long way to building trust and developing the buy-in of everyone involved.

If everyone in the workforce sees top-level executives and managers operating in an honest and open manner then they can feel encouraged that nothing is being hidden from them and they are an important part of the process, not just a cog in a machine.

How can you improve your workplace?

1) Make feedback the norm
A core part of learning and developing is asking for and giving regular and structured feedback. Working in a vacuum and receiving little input and insights from others can leave us bling as to areas where we may improve. Creating an environment where giving feedback is the norm can start by organizing structured feedback sessions; coaching people on how to properly give detailed constructive feedback and how everyone can go about asking for relevant feedback from their peers.

For many, receiving or giving feedback can be daunting and requires people to be open and receptive. Actively listening to what others have to say, making notes on the feedback, and taking a look at how you can turn this feedback into action points, are all important steps to make this feedback train run smoothly.

For those looking to run some feedback sessions but are unsure where to start, have a look at some of our feedback templates.

2) Conduct self-assessments
Sometimes it is not always possible to collect feedback from others, thus self-assessment can be very useful in the quest for constant improvement. Often times we do not look at our work or our effort in a fair and measured way. Many of us are our own harshest critics. Coaching teams on how they can better self-assess their work can help to increase morale and can lead to improved feedback sessions.

If individuals can take the time to properly and fairly assess their own performance then this skill should translate over when it comes time to offer their co-workers all-important feedback.

3) Choose small manageable improvements
Big goals are not great motivators. Rather, lofty goals can be demotivating when you soon realize just how much work it would take to even take one step towards what you want to achieve. Instead, set manageable and realistic short-term targets. This will be more motivating for your team, as they will be able to reach milestones and reflect on both improvements and accomplishments.

For example, if your goal is to create a positive work environment, don't just set a goal such as “make the office a more positive place", instead create smaller goals such as “greet everyone in the team when you arrive in the morning” or “eat lunch with a colleague you want to get to know better”. These smaller improvements will help you to reach your overall target in the end but will help your team to see the improvements straight away.

4) Developing a continuous improvement process
We have mentioned a number of steps and some examples of what exactly continuous improvement is - from encouraging feedback to being open and transparent. Developing this process need not be an arduous and tedious one. The four stages of the continuous improvement process are 1. Plan 2. Do 3. Check 4. Act. - also known as thePDCA cycle.

All Hands In
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