Continuous Improvement Engagement Survey Results
We launched a 30 second survey a few weeks back to ask the main question, What is your biggest challenge in gaining engagement in your Continuous Improvement Programs? and the results are in. We had a great response with just over 180 people adding their input to the question and a big thank you to those who did. In the survey we asked a couple of questions, how would you rate your CI program in your organisation out of 10 and our biggest challenge question. For the biggest challenge question we let respondents select each of the options that applied hence why the percentages may seem a little strange on first glance.
Rate your CI Program out of 10
The results aren't fantastic are they, although to be fair more than 50% of respondents did give it a passing grade, but not really a ringing endorsement and the majority answer is actually a fail! What does this tell us, well you could argue not a lot and that would probably be fair, it's a tiny sample size for a start but I think it's fair to say that the general trend seems to be that it could be better, they need to improve.
What is your biggest challenge?
Our second, and main question, was What is your biggest challenge in gaining engagement in your Continuous Improvement Programs? Here we let people choose their top 3 issues that were applicable and most people took advantage of that and chose 3 options. I think it's fair to say that Lack of Clear Direction and Lack of Leadership are two sides of the same coin here. Its not that unusual for leaders to believe that they have provided direction by saying her we need to improve and we have this program so lets get stuck in. The reality is that's zero direction. real direction is about making 100% clear what the goal is, what is it you need to fix and why. We've hit it time again again that leaders want to push the decision on what to focus on down to the team on the floor as a form of empowerment. We would argue that's not empowerment, that's abdication. As a leader its your job to set clear direction, you can and should absolutely take feedback from the teams but the final decision and direction must be set by the leadership team. I often say (with slight tongue in cheek) that businesses are never a democracy, they are always a benevolent dictatorship where 1 person is ultimately in charge. They want others to be involved, to have a say, make certain decisions on their own but ultimately the final decision and consequences stay with the person at the top and what's more, your team actually want you to give them that direction... it's the top result in our pole!
Leadership of your Continuous Improvement program doesn't stop with setting the direction, it's ensuring that you know what's going on, that people have the time (see our 3rd result in the pole) and of course that there is money (see result 4) to let them do what they need to do. As a leader you need to continually check in on the teams and see how they are traveling, do they need support, can you help in any way or just to keep the encouragement going.
The Continuous Improvement Leadership Checklist
Perhaps out of this pole there is quick check that you could create, something like:
- Have we identified how this program fits with our strategic direction as an organisation?
- Have we agreed and communicated the outcome we need from this program?
- Have we set a clear target and how it will be measured?
- Have we developed a communication plan with time frames and a breakdown of who should know what by when?
- Have we set aside a budget and given the teams the ability to spend it without additional bureaucracy?
- Have we identified the training requirements, who needs what and who will provide that training?
- Have we figured out how we will set aside the right amount of time to train and undertake continuous improvement work?
Engagement takes time, but you can speed it up by being consistent and having a plan, so go on, get a plan!
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