How To Achieve Sustained Improvement For Your Business

What we do during each day and the way we approach issues determines if our business will fall behind the pack or become leaders. Toyota has defined what makes a good manager and what determines a poor manager. In the picture below you can see that the standard day consists of three main types of actions which we spend time on each day.

Managers should be sharing their time between doing standardised tasks and planning, evaluation and improving the performance of their area of responsibility. During each day however we can be disrupted by unplanned tasks, usually as a result of poor planning, control or not following standardised tasks. The manager who is constantly spending their time fixing issues are not being effective as managers.

The objective then is to close down the unplanned (fire fighting) activities by understanding the root causes and implementing actions to prevent them recurring. This way the manager will have more time to plan and implement improvement activities.

Toyota utilizes the following table to evaluate their managers. Each manager should evaluate their own performance honestly, identify the gaps and have a plan to close them. Your target should be a minimum of level 4.

Keys For Success To Sustained Improvement

Once you have gained control of your standardised daily tasks the next step is to implement sustained improvement. This way you avoid slipping back into fire fighting mode. The necessary requirements are:

1. Persistency and Consistency.

2. One Direction – don’t keep changing the direction or focus. Improve the process, by consultation, but do not change direction.

3. Establish and reinforce the hierarchy of influence, support and control. Everyone must have an active role (including all management). You are not supporting by merely allowing the activity, everyone must actively participate. Attend meetings, provide guidance, remove roadblocks, monitor performance, provide feedback, ask questions and show genuine interest.

4. Establish a set of KPI’s that have measures which are simple and meaningful to those that control the results. Make them visual to the team.

5. Encourage team activities to improve results. Get the team to set the targets.

6. Ensure that results are updated regularly. Do not allow out of date data to be displayed.

If you would like more information and assistance on eliminating problems improving your performance, call your local SER® representative.

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