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Friday, April 20, 2018

Lean Quote: Communication and Continuous Improvement

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience." — Steve Burnett, The Burnett Group

Continuous improvement means exactly what it says: It’s a nonstop effort to provide better products and services at lower costs. It’s the only way to maintain a competitive edge over companies that are out to grab your customers for themselves.

There are two reasons why good communication has to be at the heart of any continuous improvement process.

To do their jobs well, people must know what’s expected of them. It’s up to their manager to make those expectations clear.

This next reason is not so obvious and is related to the continuous aspect of continuous improvement:

It’s easier to get people to improve their work for short while than to get them to sustain that improvement over long periods. To do that, you have to keep reminding them of why they should use new methods, since they are often less convenient than older methods.

But those reminders become ineffective if people have to repeat them again and again. To avoid boring your audience, you continually have to find new way to get your “old” message across.

The key to keeping your communication improvement program alive is to keep workers focused on the right methods, and on the reasons for using them. Otherwise, they inevitably will regard the program as just another management fad: something we talk about today, and then forget about tomorrow.

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