Continuous Improvement: 3 Tips For Getting Management On-Board

Ron Pereira, of LSS Academy, wrote a recent post titled “3 Things You Can Do When Your Manager Doesn’t Support Continuous Improvement,” and I like his proactive attitude.

Face it, sometimes, your “higher-ups” don’t always back your ideas.  They may have several reasons for this: maybe they don’t want you to steal their thunder or think your efforts may fail and make the department look bad. But, either way, Pereira says you need to gently persuade them to your cause, -because we all know that continuous improvement is a positive, right?

Make ’em Look Good

The first thing Pereira mentions is that you need to do is make your manager look good.  He suggests that you “5S the so-called dark corner of the plant,” or likewise give your manager something they will be proud to report to their superiors enough times, and they may be more apt to get on board.

I once had a manager who was completely self-absorbed.  He thought only of the bottom line – his.  He would pinch pennies and undermine anyone who stood in his way, but I got him to accept a lean program by playing his game.  I began one conversation with, “Now, I know you like initiative, so I hope you aren’t mad that I organized the fabrication department.  They are showing an increase in productivity and I’m sure you’ll want to include that on your report this week.”  He was floored and asked more about what I did.  We implemented a larger-scale lean-based production transformation in two more areas of the plant within the month (after he was commended by his boss).

Take Initiative: Seek Knowledge

Another tip he offers is to learn as much as you can about it, in case your manager doesn’t believe in funding your education.  There are so many free resources, plus, I’ve found that forums on the topic will give you many different perspectives on the subject.

That same manager mentioned above was completely oblivious to lean manufacturing concepts, so I didn’t even bother to ask him to buy me any lean or 5S supplies or training material.  Instead, I borrowed some from friends at other companies and found a ton online.  Sometimes, you just have to do it all by yourself – on your own time.  The benefits can outweigh the time and effort to learn it – plus, now I have real-world experience to back up all my “book learning.”

Don’t Stop, Keep It Up!

The last tip is to not give up. True, this last tip is a given, but continuous improvement in and of itself is the epitome of never giving up, so Pereira’s tip only accentuates that.  Rinse and repeat.

In one’s life, it is never a good idea to give up. I want results, and you don’t get those without continually working and trying to accomplish things.  Sign up for a new race when you get to the finish line!

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