From Chief Experience Officer to Chief Sustainability Officer, C-suite titles are constantly evolving to reflect the changing world of business. Today, there is a great need for a Continuous Improvement leader who can effectively unite their team around a shared purpose, fostering a culture of continuous growth and achievement. Here are the ways in which today’s business leaders can embody this idea and be the CI leader that their organisation can lean on.
A shared purpose: The power of narrative
Uniting a team around a shared purpose begins with clear communication that harnesses the power of storytelling, visual imagery, and other devices to ensure that their team understands why a shared purpose is crucial. We often use the ‘burning platform’ analogy to drive home the fact that urgency and importance are key when it comes to critical moments, and everyone has a role to play before it’s game over. Another handy trick is using the ‘WIIFM’ method to guide conversations, which stands for ‘What’s In It For Me.’ When team members see how a shared purpose benefits them personally, it gives them a real stake in it.
Measuring success and empowering teams to contribute
A shared purpose needs to be measurable. It can be as simple as defining 3 to 5 key performance measures directly linked to the shared purpose. It’s like setting up signposts along the journey to give the team a common language and a clear sense of direction.
Secondly, leaders should empower their team to be part of the solution, calling upon them to make an impact on the 3 to 5 key performance measures identified. This is vital because team members are often the experts in their own areas and can offer the best perspective on granular details.
The importance of the right skills
It’s surprising how many leaders expect their teams to embark on a journey of continuous improvement without assessing whether their teams have the means or the know-how. Offering the training and resources—whether that’s in the form of CI tools or learning workshops—is critical. A natural by-product of doing this is that it helps the entire organisation speak the same language of CI.
See the process first-hand
For CI leaders, visiting ‘the Gemba’, where work happens, is essential. Here, they observe the process and create a map of how work flows to deliver customer outputs. This is at the heart of CI, enabling leaders to identify issues, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies firsthand. With this hands-on experience, they work with their teams to improve workflow, enhance process performance, and establish standards for consistent results.
Enjoying the CI journey
Most importantly, celebrating every effort or idea that advances the key performance measures, regardless of the magnitude is important as it can prevent the relentless pursuit of CI from feeling like a never-ending journey without a destination.
Every leader should aim to embody the principles of continuous learning, problem-solving, and adaptability, because it sets the tone for the whole team. A commitment to growth and betterment is infectious and can foster a culture of continuous improvement right through the organisation.
How Enlighten can help leaders become CI Leaders
Enlighten’s CI training programs are specifically crafted to equip Service Industry leaders with the skills to solve day-to-day problems, remove waste, and enhance processes using a systematic, data-driven approach. In addition to technical competencies or the science of CI, our industry-leading CI programs also allow leaders to harness their emotional intelligence, using the art of CI to enhance their change management skills. Our interactive courses incorporate hands-on simulations covering applicable CI tools, data analysis, project and risk management, and facilitation capabilities. These self-paced courses are seamlessly complemented by expert-led group sessions and live projects, delivering a holistic and immersive learning journey for today’s CI leaders.
Lastly, as organisations continue to face growing pressure to improve business performance, it is our hope that the CI leaders we train and support, connect with experts in the field and CI practitioners to exchange ideas, share learnings, and give renewed impetus to the conversations around continuous improvement.