There is always room to make small improvements, challenge the status quo and fine-tune processes. It can even be done every day.
In fact, you probably do this week in, week out without calling it “change” or “continuous improvement.”
Over time, all of these incremental changes add up and can make a significant positive impact on your team and organization.
One approach to continuous, incremental improvement is called kaizen. It originated in Japan and the word translates to mean change (kai) for the good (zen). I learned about kaizen during a Crystal Ball Meeting held by the National Association of Landscape Professionals back in 2006. (Check out the book that resulted from the meeting, which is for sale at Amazon, Lean Management for the Green Industry: An Operational Strategy That Delivers Value to Customers and Eliminates Waste.)
Kaizen is based on the philosophical belief that everything can be improved. Some organizations look at a process and see that it’s running fine. Organizations that follow the principle of kaizen see a process that can always be improved. This means that nothing is ever seen as status quo — there are continuous efforts to improve that result in small, often imperceptible, changes over time. These incremental changes add up to substantial changes over the longer term without having to go through any radical innovation. It can be a much gentler and employee-friendly way to institute the changes that must occur as a business grows and adapts to its changing environment.
Here at Turf, we’re making our own continuous improvements. In March, we made some upgrades to our very popular LawnSite forums. The website has a fresh look and some new features, including expanded user profiles, as well as the ability to find popular topics quickly. Site members can also now more easily share photos and videos. A video tour located on the home page can give you a quick rundown on these updates and enhancements. A key part of improvement is constructive criticism, so, as always, we welcome your feedback!
In the meantime, what small improvement are you going to make to your business today?