One of the issues with continuous improvement is that it is really tempting to look for sexy solutions and methods to improve our performance.

The notion that the solution is ‘out there’ can derail us from becoming what many people call being brilliant at the basics. For example, getting good at directing staff is a lot less exciting for many people than buying a new software tool that might also help…

As we have just started 2024, I wanted to share with you a list of basics that might resonate with you. Hopefully it will trigger some thoughts that you can include in your continuous improvement plans for the year ahead.

  • Keeping an eye your business tasks (including continuous improvement projects).
  • Defining a few KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that are meaningful and using them to make decisions to help manage your business.
  • Defining the results and outcomes you want from your improvement projects.
  • Using checklists effectively, to avoid recurring business issues.
  • Documenting business processes and using those documents to ensure consistency of results.
  • Keeping staff accountable for the result areas they are assigned.
  • Leading by example.
  • Defining and sustaining management routines.
  • Educating senior staff so they understand the financial impact of their actions.

I’m sure you can think of other items to add to this list. My intention here is that this list sparks some thoughts about basics that may be missing (or could be improved upon) from your business.

Capture these thoughts and come up with a plan to ensure you are brilliant at the basics.

This email was written on the back of a blog post that I wrote the other day about getting the most out of checklists (again, not sexy but highly effective). You can read that blog post here.

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.