Tag Archives: opportunity

Continuous Improvement

The past few years have proven challenging for many small business owners as they adjusted, pivoted, modified and realigned to meet the changes they faced.

Some businesses were not prepared for what 2020/2021 brought and sadly closed their doors. However, others positioned themselves to take advantage of the opportunity to rethink and reimagine their business to meet the needs of their customers.

While it may take facing a disaster for some business owners to examine and explore opportunities to improve their business, continuous improvement is a critical component to success in any business – regardless of size or sector.

Continuous improvement is an ongoing process that focuses on:

  • Identifying opportunity for improvement and planning for change.
  • Implementing small-scale change and analyze the results.
  • Applying the successful change on a wider scale.
  • Assessing continuously and beginning the cycle over.

I have seen several business owners work on continuous improvement even while going through challenging times. One woman closed her business in one location and found an opportunity to reopen successfully in another location by collaborating with an existing business owner. Another family business had just launched as the pandemic began spreading and they worked creatively for almost eighteen months to stay in business before they could safely open to the public.

These examples of determination and resolve to succeed were accomplished by people working together to achieve a goal. To some degree we could say that they were reacting to changes brought about by a disaster rather than by creating an action plan for change, but they made it work. All businesses could benefit by continually looking for opportunities to improve and analyzing the data to make sure changes bring about results regardless of what is happening in the world.

Businesses that have continuous improvement as part of their strategic plan are better positioned to withstand natural disasters, limited resources, or whatever comes their way. Even solopreneurs can work together with support teams – virtual or otherwise – to creatively look for ways to stay ahead of the business curve. Just think how much better businesses that already have teams in place are positioned to use their collective expertise to keep the business primed for success.

Does your business have a continuous improvement plan? This could be another tool to add to your toolbox. Let me know if you need support in putting together your continuous improvement plan.

Prepare for the Future

Back in the 1990’s, Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, explained that “only by changing how we think can we change deeply embedded policies and practices” and “radical change in how work is done inevitably leads to the definition of new jobs with new skills requirements”.  Fast forward to 2021, and these words still have meaning.

During the 2020 pandemic, many businesses were trying to function under existing policies and practices which no longer served their employees or their customers. Rather than creating a strategy to deal with the changes brought on by the pandemic, many businesses found themselves reacting to the change based on those existing policies and practices – and we know how well that works!

Over the years, we have seen the need for new jobs and new skill requirements. Moving from highly industrialized process-driven work to more technology-based critical thinking work created the need for the up-skilling or retraining of workers. Along with these ongoing changes, colleges and universities find themselves struggling to prepare their students for careers that continue to evolve – or perhaps have not even been envisioned yet. 

In my father’s generation, workers often stayed with the same company until they retired; in my generation the calculation was that we would change careers at least three to five  times. As we move forward, the current and future generations are going to experience far more change in the workplace as businesses adapt to changes in technology, organizational structure, environmental concerns, and  changes yet to be identified.

Change can be challenging, but it also offers new opportunities, so how can we prepare ourselves for the future? In my experience, I find that when people are doing what they love to do, are interested in learning , and are thinking about things that interest them, they will be productive regardless of what is changing around them. Working in what is called a “Zone of Genius” means that you have an innate talent that is focused on your passion, and at the end of the day you feel energized rather than depleted.

We need to decide if we are going to react to change and add skills as we have to, or be proactive and consistently learn new skills that can be used in a variety of industry sectors. For example, understanding and building your emotional intelligence can be used no matter where your work takes you, as well as good communication and problem-solving skills.

Are you stuck in your career? Do you need help in developing a strategy to help you change or grow? Contact me and let’s talk about how I can help you to refocus your energy and find work that you love!