3 Steps to embedding a culture of continuous improvement in your business
Will your customers find excellence in the details of dealing with your company? Ultimately it is the detail that distinguishes one competitor from the next. As an example, we were recently looking for a supplier delivering a specific service that we did not have any prior experience with. We did our research and found that that particular service industry had two major role players. When we decided to make contact with them, we had absolutely no preference, so our initial plan of action was to get a quote from both of them and base our decision on that. Interestingly enough company A promptly answered their telephone line when we phoned, was friendly and professional over the phone and by responding impressively promptly on our enquiry, had an exclusivity contract signed and sealed with us within 36 hours of us first making contact with them. Company B had listed the incorrect phone number on their website and to date has not provided us with any feedback on our email enquiry. Although it could be that their pricing is more lucrative than that of company A, by not paying attention to the detail of having the correct telephone number on their website or swiftly responding to email enquiries received, they have lost out on gaining our business going forward. Not only on the revenue, but also on that portion of market share – not to mention whose name will come to mind first when we refer others wanting to make use of the same type of service.
2016: Where to from here?
Aim to perform through continuous improvement
The world in which we operate is changing almost daily… Technology is continuously changing… The workforce is changing… The environment is changing… Legislation is changing… Customer requirements are changing… The competition is changing… Globalization has made the world a smaller place and while access to information and new technologies have become easier, this is equally true for customers’ access to alternative suppliers. Since many of these changes are not necessarily within your direct control, the question to ask yourself is what to do when everything is changing? The reality is that the only way to effectively respond and ensure that you remain relevant and stay ahead of the pack, is to continuously improve.
There is a saying that variety is the spice of life. Most people prefer variety when it comes to choosing the right frame for their reading glasses, a tie, a shirt, a dress or shoes, but more often than not people are less interested in a variety of opinions, they struggle to communicate in a variety of languages and they find it challenging to understand and be tolerant of a variety of customs and religions. The reality is that variety really is everywhere and it exists internally and externally to your company, stretching beyond your employees to suppliers and clients as well. It is therefore only natural that conflict will arise from time to time and it is critical for managers to be able to handle conflict when it arises, as well as develop ways of preventing conflict from becoming damaging to their teams.
An insufficient flow of communication between a manager and his individual team members will inhibit the overall team’s performance. We regularly encounter managers who are frustrated with their team members for rather communicating with other individuals and failing to make use of communication channels that they believe are in place and effective. When managers turn to us for assistance to address this behaviour, the first question we believe needs to be asked is why your team members could possibly be choosing not to communicate with you?
We were recently contracted by a client to assist them with implementing a structured business process optimization action plan to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. All of the department heads that were working with us understood the need for this project, but very few of them knew where or how to get started.
This is a challenge we often encounter with our clients, especially when we work with team members that have been working within the organization for a long period of time. It is not easy to re-look at the same processes over and over, but with a fresh pair of eyes that can find new opportunities.
The best thing you can do for your company in preparation of 2015