Success and Continuous Development – Part Two
Continuous Development is the seventh C in the twelve part series of the C’s of Success. Today will review the core from Part One and then discuss Continuous Development at the Organizational level.
Continuous Development can be considered the catalyst for all current and future growth and improvement. Without it, the status quo would rule the day and very little improvement or growth could occur in both individuals and organizations. There is a strong need for purposeful continuous development at all levels of organizations. Individuals who get ahead in life do so by improving themselves either by improving skills or their wisdom.
What is Continuous Development?
When we first started our company we choose the name “Kaizen Performance Group, Inc.” because of the term Kaizen. Kaizen means to continuously improve in a holistic way. We believed then as we believe today that all improvement begins with continuously developing and improving what and how you do things.We also found the fastest method of gaining experience was to learn from experts, thus shortening the learning curves in life and business.
The Japan adopted the term “Kaizen” to their total quality efforts because they recognized the need for continuous improvement in their organizational work flows and processes. Using Kaizen as the focal point, they looked to improve every process and individual skill within their organizations. Kaizen principles led to their leading the world in total quality of product and services. A simple method leading to major results.
What is Organizational Continuous Development?
If you are the leader of an organization my main question to you is…What are You Doing to Create a Culture of Continuous Development? If your answer is anywhere close to – I don’t know – you have some major work to do now.
I often hear the phrase “People are our Greatest Asset” or “People are our Competitive Advantage” or some similar phrase about the quality of people. That is the right thing to say. The real thing is What are You Doing to Make Certain it is True?
If People are important – which they are – what processes and practices are in place and functioning to ensure continuous development of your most important assets?
An interesting thing happened during the recent economic downturn. The first thing to get cut and eliminated by corporations were the training budgets. Now this is an interesting choice and yes I understand the issues of survival and the choices one has to make during very tough and difficult times. Yet, this is the perfect time to gain a competitive advantage in your industry or market. How? To continue developing your people and ramping up the skills and knowledge base during less intense work days. Then, as the economy comes back online with gusto – you and your people will create the most energy and excitement in capturing opportunities.
Organizations are only collections of diverse talent who band together to work and function as a group. If this group is part of a continuous development process, then in practice they – as a group – will become more valuable. This value will translate into dominating its niche – particularly when the competitors are standing on the sidelines using last decade’s skill set and knowledge. Winners improve and losers whine or blame others. Make a decision to lead in continuous development of your people and you will win more often.
Another area of continuous improvement that organizations need to focus upon is in regard to their processes and systems. Earlier I wrote about the Japanese and their Kaizen process of continuous improvement. They pioneered the execution and formalization of the concept (as they were advised by American Consultants) and mastered the processes of continuous improvement.
The rest of the world organizations have been playing catch up with the Japanese and some are running neck and neck today. Why or How? Using continuous training and development these nations and organizations have learned how to build continuous improvement into their everyday operations. These efforts are paying dividends in the lowering expenses and cost of operations, shortening the time for delivery of products – both to the customer and into production – and finding new technologies for standard or routine work freeing up the human talent for more complex tasks, reasoning and decisions.
The topic of continuous development and improvement is really a book topic rather than brief summary post. So, I encourage you to find the information regarding improving your work flow processes and systems. It will be an opportunity to practice the personal development step listed above. If you need more information, please contact us to get a reading list on the topic of interest.
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