How do I maintain a Continuous Improvement culture when people are working remotely?

What the next steps are in maintaining your Continuous Improvement culture in your organization depends on how far you are already at this moment in time.
The further you are on the road to excellence, the easier it is to sustain the level of maturity with the middle management leadership itself. If there are however some development needs to be covered first this is where it starts. But how to achieve this when you are working remotely? The answer is: step by step… Reaching the “blue sky vision” is not a sprint but a marathon. So direction, persistence & focus, leadership by example and good expectation management are all part of what you need.
Let’s make it simple: if you have for everybody with key roles the next 10 steps defined which they should take towards the “blue sky vision” and we have it clear when we expect them to take these steps, all we need is progress monitoring and providing help where needed.

So that’s exactly what can also work remotely. Below we summarized for you a number of key characteristics and behaviors which we would expect you to work towards with your teams when driving the Continuous Improvement culture towards the “blue sky vision”:

- every day starts with clarity on:
      + what does a good day look like (which targets on which KPI’s clear)
      + what do I need to do when there is a performance gap?
      + how do I make sure that all people in my area of responsibility know this as well?
- but there should also be room to focus on:
      + how can I contribute to preventing re-occurrences of previous performance gaps?
      + how can I help others to do the same?

If everybody works every day along these simple rules the only sidesteps are related to improving our capability of becoming better in doing so, this is exactly where the remote support of leadership can focus on. In this way the people who take care of all production areas (including safety, quality, maintenance, logistics, etc) will know exactly what they need to do in order to contribute to the success of the company. And whenever they struggle there should be a direct help line to leadership helping them to resolve the issue. Which becomes, immediately after being fixed, part of the new standards if there is a risk to repetitions.

A number of important elements to work on together with the teams are:

- do we know exactly what to do in order to hit the targets of our KPI’s?
    + shift organization
    + ensure the flow and progress of production
    + does everyone contribute or do we have still laggards?
    + how do we interact with laggards in order to reverse their behavior without clashing?
- are we all aware of how to deal with a performance gap?
    + do we know the standards and rules on what to solve yourself and what to escalate?
    + are we equipped with and skilled in the use of the right tools to fix problems?
    + do we have a structured overview on the history of solved problems and the progress on ongoing problem solving?
    + does escalation and help requests work fine? Do people ask for help if needed and do we help each other when asked for?
- are we aware of the waste in our processes?
    + do we all know what good looks like?
    + are we all capable of recognized the threshold when it is not good anymore? (sounds simple but in many cases the issues are just part of the normal accepted day to day live of people)
    + how do we know we reacted to a symptom or a root cause?
- do we have an open communication culture as a basis for working together?
    + Can we say something is not good enough without the perception of personal attack?
    + Are people open to get help of others?
    + Do we see more importance in team results instead of individual success?

Want to know how to make sure you can drive this in your own organization in a way that the critical mass of the organization embraces this new way of working and that it will stick? Even in an organization where the people who normally drive this are now remotely working from home? Leave your contact information behind in below section and one of our experts will contact you in order to assess what the next steps need to be in your organization… and we will even help you to start with it, free of charge…