To end this 4 part article about Continuous improvement, here are several tips that will help you overcome the challenges that you may meet while trying to bring change in your team or agency:
1. Create a habit out of it
Just like everyone can get stuck in the routine of doing everything the same way all the time, you can create a habit of listing ideas, grabbing feedback, or adjusting/fine-tuning anything you can.
For example, every 3 months you can set yourself a reminder to ask people if they have feedback on a tool, or ideas to improve how everyone uses it. As time goes by, pay attention to the evolution of the feedback as it may change from “Everything is great” to “I found out about a new tool…”.
2. Gain buy-in from managers
If you do not have any power to use resources to make change happen, than sell your ideas to people who do have it. If they agree and make available the necessary resources for the change, then you will obviously have a better chance of making it happen.
To gain buy-in, there are several ways to convince someone:
- Show the monetary gain of the change;
- Show how things can go faster;
- Show how better quality will be produced;
- At the same time, you can use the current situation and show how slow, inefficient, or low quality things are at the moment;
- Show people’s feedback;
- Show are things are being done elsewhere and the result;
3. Accept mistakes
One of the reason we don’t want to tackle change is because we are scared of making mistakes. The thing is, you will learn a lot from your mistakes, and what’s important is to adjust right away when it happens.
If a new process just doesn’t work, either fine-tune it, or go back to what it was. Just don’t let it stop you, learn from it and let it bring you even further.
4. Find others
Usually, you will be able to find others who feel changes needed. Discuss with them, gather their feedback, their ideas, and get them on board to help you bring that change to life.
If you think you are alone thinking things need to change, you are wrong. Although at first it may look like nobody wants things to change, a lot do but are scared or just don’t think they can have an impact. People will join in, and make sure to include them as much as possible throughout the process of the change.
5. Think small / Think big
Changes can be very small and they can also be big. Do not neglect the small changes that can fine-tune your big changes into something even better. Just like sometimes the biggest, toughest changes are the ones that are going to bring the best results.
Vary the sizes of the changes you tackle. Even a small change sometimes keeps you motivated for the next change, just like finishing a small task during your day.
6. Think of others while planning
Unless the change is only going to affect yourself, think of others when planning how the change will impact everyone. The others will make your change live or disappear, if you neglect them, they will surely make your change revert to its original state.
How? Simple, talk to them, ask them what they like, don’t like, what’s their opinion on the path your change has taken, if they agree or disagree, ask them to test whatever your doing, involve them. Avoid doing this behind everyone’s back and then imposing the change suddenly without the proper training/support; your change will surely fail and everyone will just keep doing what they were doing before.
7. Ask these simple questions: “How can we be better?” or “How can this be better?”
The title says it all; just by asking yourself (or others) this question, you can be surprised of how many ideas can come out of it.
Do a brainstorm session and use those questions to start some discussions, and you’ll see there are many ideas that will pop out.
Also, ask these questions even if things are going well; just because a tool is great or a process is going well, doesn’t mean it can’t be even better.
This concludes the 4 part article on continuous improvement, I hope you enjoyed. Do share your ideas or stories of when you brought change within your team.