While it’s nice to put 2020 behind us, there’s no shortage of unpredictable stressors and complex, deeply rooted problems to kick off 2021.

Many businesses still feel overwhelmed and are asking:

  • How did we get here?
  • How do we move forward?
  • How do we ensure lessons are learned and allow them to guide our path forward?

As I reflect on these questions, I keep coming back to key guiding principles of continuous improvement — the ongoing development of products, services or processes that occur in incremental or breakthrough phases. Through my training in continuous improvement, I’ve learned to look at the solutions to the obstacles many businesses are facing this year using this model.

Walk the Shop Floor

So often business leaders try to sit in a room and meet with their team, then start prescribing a solution to their issues without taking the time to understand them. This is a critical first step leaders often miss.

Before you can solve your organization’s problems, you need to first understand them. Continuous improvement calls for doing a “Gemba Walk,” or as I like to call it, “walking the shop floor.” This step allows you to view with an objective lens the root cause of your organization’s problems, the contributing factors and the issues that result from them. From there, work with those closest to the issues to create effective solutions that solve the problems at the root cause. This approach allows business leaders to make decisions based on facts and will help them understand, listen and witness the issues firsthand before problem-solving begins.

So, what does this mean for your business? Think about how often you’re operating from assumptions rather than facts, then challenge those assumptions. Ensure you have people surrounding you who can challenge and stretch your thinking. Implement this approach across your leadership team and continue to develop this mindset throughout your organization.

If you’re looking to expand on these principals and improve your leadership capabilities, one of the leadership development programs the Vantage Group offers is The Prioritized Leader. This program is excellent for building the behavior of understanding first, confirming facts over assumptions and leading business leaders towards effective paths forward. You can read more about this program and its “Five Ps”: Purpose, People, Pace, Perception and Profit.

If you are ready to level up your leadership and want to explore The Prioritized Leader program, reach out to The Vantage Group today. Learn to walk your shop floor, solve problems effectively and find your path forward to better performance.