Effort doesn’t mean much without proper results, and this is a fundamental component of every company’s operation. However, the key that some organizations tend to miss is that it’s not just about getting the right results, it’s also important to continuously analyze those results and look for patterns that can help the company improve and move forward.
This is a core aspect of continuous improvement as a concept, and something any good leader must know inside and out. While the actual analysis of the results will often be done by dedicated employees and even entire departments in larger cases, it’s still the leader’s responsibility to know how to parse the results of that analysis properly, and to understand the implications they have on the company’s next plans.
Understanding Your Results
It’s a good idea to keep track of all progress made by the organization, even the negative occurrences in its lifetime. That way, when something new and unexpected comes up, you’ll have a good range of previous information to compare against, and you won’t just be making blind decisions based on a few recent data sets.
The importance of this becomes more apparent in an organization that’s been around for a longer time and has gone through some major changes in its structure. Sometimes, those organizational changes will affect the company’s output in unpredictable ways, which can occasionally give the false impression that something is wrong.
Only if you keep the big picture in mind – that is, the entire progress of the company since you started making changes to it – will you be able to drive future decisions in an informed and sensible way.
This doesn’t come down to just the leader having a good overview of the situation. It also means that the entire company must be able to provide adequate reports about the given environment, and the leader must also be capable of processing those reports correctly and drawing important conclusions from them. Which brings us over into the territory of proper communication, and that’s a slightly different topic beyond the scope of this section.
Adapting to Change
This will also allow the company to survive through turbulent times where unexpected changes to the environment occur due to uncontrolled factors. Those are times when it’s critical for the organization to make a sound decision, as sometimes a situation like this can make or break the entire business. Understanding the organization’s past entirely, and having the willingness to change the process accordingly, can often be the deciding factor in how well a company does after such a major transformation.
This is becoming more and more valid today, too – the market is growing at an astounding rate, and we’re seeing changes that we would have never expected before. It’s becoming quite dangerous for companies that are resilient to change, and this old-time mindset is slowly, but steadily coming to an end.
This is actually good for the market as a whole. The more companies out there that are capable of going through the transformations necessary to survive in difficult times, the more competition there will be in all niches, and therefore the more developments we’re going to see.
What all of this means for a leader on his own individual level is that they have to learn to let go of their ego, and “pull the plug” when the situation calls for it. And often, this is much harder than it sounds on paper.
Sometimes this means killing off years’ worth of work in a project that is currently dragging down the entire organization. It happens more often than you’d think, and utilizing Kaizen in an organization properly effectively comes down to knowing when it’s time to cut your losses and move forward.
Understanding the current results of the company’s efforts, and knowing how to adapt to an ever-changing market, are key aspects of good leadership, and skills that any leader must learn and perfect as much as they can. Without that, Kaizen will never truly work as it should in your organization, and you will most likely miss various valuable opportunities for active development that would have been obvious with the right outlook on the company’s results.