Great Leadership

How to promote continuous improvement in the workplace

Emma Cullen20 of April, 2018

5 mins

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One place that many of us want to improve in is the workplace. Leaders, in particular want to give their team the tools and drive to be able to improve and create an environment of constant improvement. This article looks at how you can create an environment of continuous improvement in your workplace.

Have you ever seen those reality TV shows where a contestant goes through a transformative process in order to improve themselves? These types of extreme self-improvement shows tap into our human desire to want to improve ourselves. However, this fairytale-like transformation that seemingly happens overnight is impossible for us without a TV crew, and this dramatic approach is definitely not sustainable. Most of us realise this, as we reflect on failed projects or grand new year’s resolutions long forgotten. However, the desire for self-improvement still remains.

Real, long-term self-improvement is more comparable to an athlete’s journey to success. Sports professionals make small improvements all the time to their nutrition and training. Small changes leads them to continuous improvement and success in reaching their long-term goals.

One place that many of us want to improve in is the workplace. Leaders, in particular want to give their team the tools and drive to be able to improve, and create an environment of constant improvement. This article looks at how you can create an environment of continuous improvement in your workplace.

What is continuous improvement?

Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve something. These efforts can look like small improvements but over time these small changes have a big impact. Sometimes it is referred to as the Japanese term, Kaizen.

Methods for creating an environment of continuous improvement

Choose small manageable improvements

Big goals are not great motivators. Rather, big goals can be demotivating when you soon realise that it takes a lot of work to make even a dent in what you want to achieve. Instead, when setting goals within your team, break the ultimate goal into smaller goals that can be more easily achieved and will help contribute to the overall goal. This will be more motivating for your team, as they will be able to reach milestones more quickly and see the improvements for themselves.

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.

Always ask for feedback

Asking for feedback is an incredibly important way to improve. This way you can listen to what others think. You might ask a mentor or some type of expert for feedback. Feedback can really help you to take the next step in improvement. Create an environment where giving feedback is the norm by organizing structured feedback sessions.

Be open and receptive to feedback

However, asking for feedback alone is not enough. You, as an individual who wants to improve must be open and receptive when it comes to listening to feedback. Listen actively to what others have to say, make notes on the feedback and take a look at how you can turn this feedback into action points that will help you to improve. If your colleagues see how you accept feedback, then this will help them to become more open to receiving feedback which will help them to improve on a rolling basis.

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.

Work as a team

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 in some kind of social activity to help your team get to know each other.

How to measure constant improvement with Mentimeter

It’s important to track relevant metrics in order to measure improvement, and this is possible to do with Mentimeter. One example of how you can measure improvement with Mentimeter is to create a feedback slide that you can share with your team (click here to get our example template!). Periodically (weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on what is most relevant for your team) get your team to join the presentation and fill out their feedback. The best way to do this is to book a short reflection session. In order to be able to have some comparable data, get your team to fill out the same reflection survey more than once over time. In order to see trends and if there is improvement you can use the trends feature in Mentimeter.

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Posted by Emma Cullen20 of April, 2018
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