Continuous improvement is the equivalent of continuous learning. The improved situation can require new skills and the the steps towards the new situation can also require skills which are never used before.

Continuous improvement could look like a boring and exhausting process. The opposite is true, because it requires creativity and it requires to enter new (and sometime uncertain) paths.

In this article we will discuss the desired behavior and attitude of employees, necessary for an organization that is focused on innovation and improvement.

Attitude and Behavior of employees

A company that understands innovation and improvement are parts of daily work also understands that employees play a key role. Employees have contact with customers, they know the details of the working process and they know exactly what needs to be improved and what can be improved.

But this does not mean that employees have all the ideas that they have made known to the team or manager. This requires a culture and structure that facilitates and makes this possible.

 

The table below shows which behavior contributes to innovation and improvement and which behavior does not contribute:

 

Behavior / attitude

that DOES contribute

Behavior / attitude

that does NOT contribute

1 Thinking from the customer This is what we have been doing for years

That is how it was explained to me

2 Stay surprised That does not work here

We have already tried that

3 Experimenting Continue for hours until you “really” know what the solution is
4 Base on facts (measure) Speculate; make assumptions
5 Continuing questions. 5 x Why Half-bake solutions that later cause another problem
6 Together That is not in my job description

That belongs to “that” department and not to us.

7 Learning from mistakes

Reflection and learning

Looking for the guilty

 

 

It is clear that the manager also has an important role in the above. The manager must create conditions and circumstances to make the above possible.

 

Skills of employees (such as listening, giving feedback, analyzing) are also a prerequisite for improvement and innovation, in addition to the previously mentioned culture and structure.

 

The above means that Lean means a change in working method, attitude and behavior for both employees and management

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Willem

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