Have you done process improvement? Have you seen piles of paper or duplicate steps in the processes around you? Perhaps you have implemented some process improvement tweaks to improve how work is done.
Some organizations achieve big success through a specific approach to process improvement. They recapture hundreds—even thousands—of hours of time. These leaders deliver error-free results year after year. They have changed their culture into one characterized by ongoing improvement.
Their secret? These organizations engage in continuous process improvement (CPI). In my experience, CPI in sectors that serve and help means maximizing every aspect of the organization’s operations. One community foundation used CPI to recapture more than 4,000 work hours. Another now delivers grants twice a week rather than once a week. Would your organization like to achieve those kinds of results? What does it take to move from making small tweaks through process improvement to achieving comprehensive results through continuous process improvement?
Organizations achieving impressive CPI results do so by insourcing their continuous improvement efforts. One key is to invest in training in CPI tools. This training is critical for three reasons.
First, continuous process improvement is ongoing. Relying on outside consultants to identify ways to improve the team’s work is cost prohibitive. Also, many times employees don’t agree with the recommended changes and thus fail to implement the outsiders’ ideas. To increase the likelihood of buy-in, employees need to be the ones identifying process improvement opportunities.
Building employee CPI skills, their process muscle, equips an organization to successfully improve process and results continuously.
For example, one community foundation trains every employee in the CPI skills needed to do their job. This training brought the language and culture of CPI to the entire foundation. Now employees see and talk about value added and non-value-added work. Said their CFO about her organization’s CPI program, “It’s part of our day-to-day culture.”
A second reason building CPI skills is beneficial for those working in the help-and-serve sector is that CPI is more comprehensive than informal process improvement. Some of the more advanced CPI tools include performing a waste assessment, conducting root cause analysis, and triggering human change management.
Employees in our sector are specialists in their assigned tasks. They work with public or civic programs to achieve success. They understand workflows. They effectively utilize very detailed systems. Through CPI, employees can gain access to a whole new set of tools that will enhance their performance and produce better results for their organization. Employee training is essential in order for the CPI tools to be used effectively.
The good news is that these tools are completely learnable. With coaching, employees can understand how to apply the principles of CPI in many different situations. One community foundation leader said, “Lee, you took what I thought was going to be a stringent, complex methodology and made it easy to understand and feasible to apply to our organization. Everyone participated and was thoroughly engaged in the process improvement training.”
A third reason CPI training is critical for organizational efficiency is that it brings a fresh perspective about how to approach work. Most employees have engaged in other approaches to process improvement, and they bring those notions, opinions, and experiences to CPI. For example, do you have people in your organization who have they done work the same way for ten years? Have you had the same improvement conversations again and again with no measurable improvement in how work is done?
In order to be successful in CPI, employees must be willing to think differently about how to get work done and be open to learning dramatically different ways of accomplishing their goals.
We all are at different readiness levels to accept change. At any point in time, we can be ready (green) or not ready (red) for change. CPI training helps people move from not ready (red) to more ready (yellow), and then to fully ready (green).
CPI training helps employees take that readiness journey. I see many CPI training attendees come in with their arms folded, fully prepared to resist the encouragement to change. CPI training makes it safe for employees to speak up about what they see when they do work. By the end of the training, even resistant attendees relax and understand that CPI is about process, not people. This acceptance and the related engagement are fundamental to successful CPI results, and both are a regular outcome of our process improvement training. Recently an executive vice president in our industry said of the CPI training and coaching: “We needed to create capacity and we did. Yet we achieved so much more. Now we have a culture of ongoing improvement.”
Organizations that help and serve others can leverage CPI to recapture thousands of hours of time, become error-free year after year, and deliver better and faster results to their community and customers. You can do the same through CPI training. Learn more about CPI training and check out our new Training Real Time video here: https://www.improveprocess.net/services/#process-improvement-training
Contact Lee Kuntz to learn more about how organizations that serve and help are curing pain points and achieving impressive results