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To begin, let’s examine a different question. Who owns your health? The doctor, or you? In reality, it is your health. You have to take primary responsibility for it, even if your doctor is your consultant or advisor to help you when your health is not as good.
In the same way, continuous improvement (or CI) has gone through an evolution over time. When it was a newer concept, consultants would get hired on to teach organizations about it. As that went on, many companies began to build their own continuous improvement capabilities internally. They began hiring more engineers and people into this role.
What is the next evolution of CI? It will be a level down – CI should not be a separate department because this is something that everyone needs to play a role in.
The role of current CI coordinators needs to evolve, if you get good at building disciples with continuous improvement in their mindset, the operation can extract multiples of what is possible. If only a CI looks after continuous improvement, then you are going to be limited to prioritizing only the biggest opportunities. You will not have time to work on the smaller opportunities, but that is something that a frontline worker could work on or their supervisor to make improvements even at a smaller level.
In the end, CI should reside with the people that make it happen, and those people are in the operations.
Once you have figured out how to ingrain continuous improvement into your teams, you may decide that your leadership team also needs a bit of a software or thinking and behavior upgrade. That is where we come in, with our Front Line Leadership program.
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