Businesses want to improve – that’s a fact. Every business has the goal of becoming bigger, better, and serving its clients in an improved manner. Some businesses do this through short-term projects; however, another option is the “continuous improvement initiative”. According to Joseph Paris [ ], this aspect of growing a business comes down to two things: leadership, and the actual process of the initiative.

Leadership is crucial to the initiative mainly because of its effect on employees, when employees first enter the company, they are usually enthusiastic and inspired; they are there because they want to be there, which is how they got hired in the first place. However, too often they are left directionless because of leadership that is simply not present; furthermore, they are heaped with expectations about company improvement and high-priority projects.

The solution to this is leadership, because ultimately this will have the greatest impact on employees and therefore on the initiative. Leadership has several aspects:

– Moving forward: Leaders focus on the future. Although they may make mistakes, ultimately it is all about moving towards the overall goal of the company, and maintaining the vision that the organization is hoping to achieve.

– Respecting the employees: Leaders recognize that the employees are the backbone of the entire initiative. Leaders admit their mistakes instead of shuffling them off onto someone else; they also provide plenty of opportunities for mentorship and growth for those under them.

– Patience and drive: A true leader will have the patience to work with employees that are struggling to start out, but will also have the drive to help them understand their full potential, as well as to move towards the company’s overall vision.

The second major aspect of the continuous improvement initiative is the process of the “initiative” itself, which involves several steps. After crafting a vision based on what is mutually desired – by the customers, the employees, and the suppliers – it is important to proceed with these steps:

– Communicate the overall plan to your employees to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

– Align all resources with the overall goal set out in the initiative.

– Commit to the program that you have defined in your initiative.

– Debrief your team after following through, looking at positive and negative aspects of the progress so far.

– Adjust the initiative based on any feedback you receive.

EKI-Digital has worked with businesses of all sizes, and in various industries to help them benefit by designing, and deploying Lean Continuous Improvement as a tool to improve how their business, run, grow and transform initiatives. If you would like to learn more about this service please contact us at