One of the keys to a successful non-profit or business is the concept of continual improvement. In a world that is quick to pass by the stagnant, continual improvement keeps people on their feet, always progressing, growing, and striving to do better. When continual improvement is not embraced, then even those who begin with vigor and determination, find their growth slowed and perhaps, eventually, heading backwards.
Continual improvement (see: glossary) requires people and businesses to understand that they can always change and grow. It requires the acceptance that there is something to learn from other people and other businesses. It reflects the idea that organizations should undertake continuous improvement in their processes, services, and products. The most successful organizations, businesses, and people have followed this method, consistently moving forward and consistently inventorying their processes and making changes as necessary.
Continual improvement is significant because it bravely faces challenges and hurdles; in fact organizations who practice continual improvement do their best to anticipate challenges before they arise and seek to make necessary improvements in order to avoid them. These businesses know that there is always an answer and that they just need to keep searching, learning, and growing until they find it.
The principles of continuous improvement may seem overly simplistic, but there is great power in them. Using these tools will keep a person, business, and organization moving forward, on the cutting edge, and always continuing on to success.
- Listen to employees
The continual improvement model understands that every employee has something worthwhile to offer. The concept is based on the idea that everyone is valuable and also that employees who are closer to the problem will be better equipped to develop a solution .
Giving a voice to the various levels of employees, from the bottom to the top, creates a respectful environment where people feel they matter. This helps to create buy-in to the organization and its mission, which in turn allows for more successful change and growth when solutions are found.
- Make incremental improvements
When changes are made in a slow and simple fashion, they are less overwhelming and much more likely to be accepted, embraced, and result in success. By being aware of probable challenges that may arise and listening to problem-solving ideas and growth opportunities from all level of employees, incremental improvements can be made which are simple to implement and keep employees from experiencing frustration.
- Create organizational buy-in for employees
Change can be incredibly difficult, especially when people are used to and comfortable doing task a certain way. Help employees to buy-in to change and growth in the organization by giving them a voice and allowing them to have a say in the changes that are made. Encourage their problem-solving skills and recognize when their idea has been implemented.
Work with employees to create goals for the business that can be met by taking small steps. Help employees to see that the changes being made are imperative in meeting the goals. When employees buy-in to company goals and are loyal to their organization, they are much more likely to engage in change for success.
Continual improvement is a cycle that leads to success for businesses that practice it. It’s important to understand that the growth truly is continual. When a goal is met, more changes are made as necessary, and the organization continues to move forward.
Ali Jaffar has been building dazzling websites and creating amazing online experiences for over a decade. His mastery of the latest innovations in web development results in world-class website experiences set apart by show-stopping style and seamless functionality. A highly sought-after consultant—and 50-time award-winning storyteller, UX expert, and web developer—Ali lends his talents to build and bolster digital experiences for a wide array of clients, with a keen focus on web design for nonprofit organizations. When Ali’s not helping his clients grow or providing pro bono services via his Coding For Causes program, you can find him exploring beautiful open spaces with his dog, working on side projects like the new Good Jobs Guide, or writing pieces about technology and the world on Huge Thinking. Follow Ali on Twitter @al1meister or connect with him on LinkedIn.