Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Mar 20, 2024 | Administrative Professionals, Procedures, Productivity

There are some procedures that you’ll create once and never touch again. These procedures work perfectly as-is and the steps you use to perform the task aren’t likely to change.

Other procedures, however, will go through multiple adjustments and modifications. Since the goal is to make them as efficient as possible, it’s important to constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve them.

Fostering a culture of continuous improvement in procedures is vital for any organization aiming to stay efficient, competitive, and adaptive.

The Importance of Continuous Procedures Improvement

In the early 90s, dial-up internet was cutting edge. It’s how most people accessed the worldwide web, and we couldn’t imagine life without it.

Now, we wonder how we ever managed to get anything done with it. Do you remember asking people in your household to hang up the phone so you could send an email? Or being tied to bulky, desktop computers that couldn’t function more than five feet away from a phone jack?

Today, that sounds as archaic as manual typewriters and carbon paper.

Now, business operates 24/7 globally. The companies that are focused on staying competitive know they must find efficiency gains every place they can.

But it’s not just the production lines that need to work effectively. Every employee needs to be committed to saving time, effort, and money by eliminating bottlenecks, streamlining workflows, and working smarter.

This is why continuous procedures improvement is so important. If your systems and procedures aren’t working efficiently, you may as well be on dial-up. By embracing a culture of ongoing refinement and innovation, you can ensure that your procedures don’t become stagnant.

Establishing a Foundation for Continuous Improvement

In many companies, leaders are emphasizing operational efficiency. But not all of them are good at helping their team members understand what that means and how they can individually contribute in a meaningful way. However, you can still make a positive difference by developing systems and procedures that streamline your work.

When you do achieve operational gains, be sure to document and share those with your manager. And make sure it’s noted in your annual performance review. These are quantifiable savings of time and money that add up.

Strategies for Implementing Continuous Improvement

Sometimes a company will already have clear, measurable goals for what they want to achieve with continuous improvement. Find out what these goals are and brainstorm ways your efforts can make a difference on both an individual and organizational level.

Even if there aren’t any set goals, you know your job better than anyone. Look for areas where you know you can improve.

For example, let’s say you spend three hours each week assembling the weekly sales reports in Excel to present at the Monday morning team meeting. But you know that part of the reason it takes so long is that you’re not an efficient Excel user. You’re not comfortable with pivot tables. You aren’t confident with some of the basic functions. So, you end up doing a lot of manual work that could be automated if you had more training in this area.

If you take a couple Excel classes, learn how to streamline the report assembly process, and save yourself at least an hour per week, that’s 50+ hours over the course of the year. That’s more than a full week of vacation! This is meaningful time savings that allows you to do something else more productive with your time that will benefit the company.

When you set measurable goals related to efficiency gains, you have a visible target to aim for.

Overcoming Challenges with Continuous Improvement

Just like procedures development has to be an ongoing habit, the same applies to finding time for improving things in your daily work. This needs to become a habitual thing as well.

Sometimes your systems don’t need a massive overhaul, they just need some fine tuning. Other times they may require a fresh start. But you have to make updating or refreshing our systems and procedures an ongoing quest rather an annual project.

Remember, not all improvements need to be broad, large-scale changes. By making a few simple tweaks here and there as time permits, you’re eventually able to overhaul even the most complex procedures and leverage them to their fullest potential.

Every time you do something, you should look for ways to do it smarter than the last time. Documenting your processes is the first step. From there, you can see the process more holistically and logically organize it.

Continuous Improvement: The Key to Organizational Success!

If you kept doing things the way you’ve always done them because that way was “good enough”, innovation would cease to exist. It’s only by continuously improving your systems and procedures that you find more efficient ways to work and keep up with the changing times.

By fostering a culture of continuous procedures improvement, you’re helping yourself, your team, your executive, and the entire organization!

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© 2024 Julie Perrine International, LLC


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Julie Perrine is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures, and Prove Your Skills! With a Powerful Professional Portfolio.

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