Common Challenges That Can Hinder Continuous Improvement
While emphasizing continuous improvement is critical for any organization that wants to grow organically and in the right direction, it has to be done in a thought-out, planned manner. In addition, a good leader must also be prepared for the various challenges that can pose a threat to a companyâ€™s desire to constantly evolve, and dealing with those issues is sometimes more than half of the total work.
Itâ€™s not always easy to predict these occurrences though, especially if youâ€™re still new to the concept of Lean leadership. But you can spend some time learning what difficulties most companies tend to face in the most challenging periods of their growth, and focus on being prepared to deal with those issues.
Rapid Market Evolution
Some markets evolve much faster than others â€“ take the tech industry for example. When working in those fields, keeping up with the trends is a challenge in itself, and you have to always be alert of any new developments that could potentially boost your companyâ€™s productivity. At the same time, you have to know how to measure the potential benefits from them properly, and weigh them against the difficulty of implementing those improvements.
In other words, not every new development that comes out in your field should automatically be something that you want to integrate into your own business model. Or at least, not immediately. If new improvements keep coming out at a rapid pace, it might be a better idea to consolidate their integration into your company in separate steps, lumping them together in logical groups that make sense.
If you fail to do that, you may discover that youâ€™re spending more time implementing new changes than youâ€™re saving from the results of those changes, and in the end youâ€™re just creating a lot of waste for the organization.
New Leadership Views
Depending on how quickly the leaders of your company change, it might occasionally happen that the new people in charge arenâ€™t completely in line with the old ideas that the company was built around. While sometimes this change in vision can prove beneficial to the company in the long run, especially if it comes from someone more experienced in that particular field than the previous leader, it can also create a lot of turbulence within the organization and cause some conflicts between different departments, particularly those that were more aligned towards the old idea.
Itâ€™s good practice to ensure that changes in leadership come with a sufficient grace period before and after the transition to allow everyone to adapt properly. Itâ€™s also important to restrict the range of capabilities of leaders in specific positions to prevent them from damaging the company while they adjust to their new position and settle in.
Improper Tracking of Results
One of the core aspects of continuous improvement is analyzing your old data and comparing it against your newer data sets. If you donâ€™t have proper tracking practices in place, this can become quite difficult, and you may even end up working in the completely wrong direction. Itâ€™s not rare for a company to find itself essentially running in circles because they donâ€™t realize that theyâ€™re repeating the same mistake that they made before, or that the improvement theyâ€™re trying to make has already been realized previously.
The point is, you can prevent a lot of waste from being created by ensuring that youâ€™re always working with correct data sets, aligned with every recent event around your company. It will take some time to put those practices into place if they donâ€™t already exist in your organization, but the payoff will be more than worth it in the end.
Just because you realize that you should always be striving for continuous improvement doesnâ€™t mean that youâ€™re always making the right moves for that. There are some common pitfalls that you might encounter on your journey, and the better youâ€™re prepared for them, the less trouble youâ€™ll have expanding your company and securing new positions on the market. After a while, you should have a pretty good understanding of what kinds of problems you can expect, and how to most effectively address them before theyâ€™ve even grown into a full issue.