One of the most important things for carrying out improvement work is your approach and behaviour. Over the years, I have seen good and not so good approaches to improvement work. I drew this pictorial to help us check ourselves: Are we displaying the right behaviours and thinking like an improver?
There are many different “hats” worn in work. We have to recognise when carrying out improvement it is collaboration, encouragement and kindness that are so important. I have seen many people who carry out improvement work and are successful based on their approach rather than “expert” knowledge.
Improvement is for everyone, it is not a niche for “experts” and should not be treated like a special entity. It doesn’t have to be big, fancy and complicated. We carry out improvement as part of our daily lives – we just don’t recognise it.
One of the biggest lessons I learnt is that it is not all about me, my knowledge and opinions. It is about what can be unlocked in others to understand and learn from their experiences. Pushing our own views and thoughts can mean we miss opportunities for creative thinking or new ideas from others.
I realised one of the other important factors is recognising how powerful and useful “negative” stories and emotions are. People feel certain ways for reasons – we need to understand why and how we can use this to shape change. Don’t judge them and label them as “difficult or a laggards” work with them to use all that energy to help bring the changes needed. There are many underlying reasons for how people are feeling.