Why do Most Business Improvement Ideas Run Out of Gas?
Every day organisations worldwide identify millions of improvement opportunities worth billions of dollars in value to the business. Priorities are easy to agree, project teams are a breeze to assign whilst meetings become the default vehicle to deliver the promised potential.
As the weeks, emails, action plans, to do lists and Gantt charts go by, the number of opportunities that come to a natural dead end increases exponentially. Only a handful of the ideas are fit and resilient enough to make it anywhere near full potential. Ever wondered why those great ideas, including no-brainers never made it anywhere? Of the ones that make it through, how many remain sustainable?
We look at 10 things you can start doing differently to give your brilliant ideas any chance of making it past the brainstorm.
1. Have visible ownership and commitment from top management at all times to back the efforts. Without this sponsorship or vote of confidence, you’re push - starting a car uphill.
2. Define what success looks like in a manner that everyone involved in the project understands. Clearly articulate the potential value to be added in the eyes of the beneficiary (almost always the customer).
3. Agree and use measurable milestones at every stage of the project and most importantly at the “success” stage.
4. Agree mitigation triggers and escalation routes in the event that critical milestones have not been attained.
5. Assign only SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timeous) Actions to each action owner and have the discipline to follow through every single action.
6. Think and act like an entrepreneur, not a project manager by approaching each of these opportunities as though it was a business on its own. If this opportunity was the only thing your business did, you’d find ways to make it succeed and remove all blockers and minimise the risks.
7. Assign clear roles and leadership to allow quick and effective decision making.
8. Use any setbacks as an incentive and motivation to succeed by quickly accepting and learning how you could do things better.
9. Document, showcase and archive all successful projects for future reference and build a best practice library of successes.
0. Track and trend the previously agreed success measures for as long as necessary until the ideas become business as usual.