How Does a Company Start Continuous Improvement Training?

Picture1If investing in continuous improvement training provides a big advantage, why doesn’t every company do it? Leaders of organizations do no publicly state that continuous improvement training is bad for their organizations, yet that harsh reality is that many fail to strive for improvement in the day-to-day activities. This is the continuous improvement paradox. We believe in continuous improvement training, but do very little to implement it. Leadership theory would suggest this happens for one of two reasons. The first is that we are capable (we have the skills and knowledge) of continuous improvement training, but consciously choose not to improve. The second possible reason is that we truly want to improve, but do not possess the skills and knowledge to develop, implement, and sustain an effective continuous improvement training strategy. Although the former may be true in environments with poor labor relationships and impoverished employees, the latter is by far the reason why continuous improvement training does not flourish inside organizations. We want to improve. We do not know how.

So one question to ask yourself is, what problems are we trying to solve with continuous improvement training?

  1. First and foremost, the culture transformation. Your organization may be trained on basic lean tools, but needs improvement on building a lean culture that continuously drives business results.
  2. Secondly, we want to avoid the career jungle gym. We want to provide opportunities for team members to advance their careers while building leadership skills that connect people, purpose, and process.
  3. Lastly, your goal is to improve processes across the value stream and become a change agent through action-driving measurement and management systems.

All these goals take time and resources. Executives can be misguided when they rollout continuous improvement training strategies without taking into consideration the time, energy, and skill required. Simply declaring that continuous improvement training is the new way will undoubtedly result in frustration and failure.

What can executives do to avoid frustration and failure?

Start with Purpose and Principles

What is the purpose of your organization? It is important to fully understand your organizations purpose and principles. These are the things you value and believe in without needing evidence to support it.

Create a Continuous Improvement Training Matrix

After gaining a clear understanding of your organization purpose and principles, identify your organization individual continuous improvement training needs by topic and remember to include all team members.

Then, create a continuous improvement training matrix for each employee so that it is visible for the managers and supervisors to see WHO needs to be trained, and on WHAT, and WHEN. For example, if there are specific topics like machine operation or safety in which team members must train every year, create a matrix that enables visibility to these types of ongoing needs.

Research Your Options

Next, do some research: explore industry websites, ask colleagues and other industry affiliates for recommendations, pose questions to social media groups, and ask for a tour or free trial. If you’re unable to find exactly what you’re looking for in a online course, you may be able to work with a provider to customize an existing course to better fit the organization’s needs.

It will not be easy, but in the end, organizations that embrace continuous improvement training will ultimately be positioned for competitive advantage.

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