PrintLogin to download pdfSustainable Improvements through Data [L]


All improvement efforts are put in place to improve results. However, measuring the results alone does not effectively manage the processes that lead to the improvements, as results are measured after the event.  To manage the improvement journey and receive instantaneous feedback on how well you are performing to deliver the end result it is important to measure the inputs that lead to success. These inputs are Information, Focus and Action.

To clarify the scale of improvement required, it is vital to know what the gap is between the current situation and where you would like to be. Therefore always start with a Visionary Goal or a Stretch Target. The difference between this and your current situation creates a gap. This provides clarity on the scale of the improvement effort required. Using this, it can be decided on amount of effort required to achieve the goal or target.

Once you have achieved your target, it is vital to sustain it. Therefore the relevant processes have to be implemented to ensure that the improvement effort is sustained and also provides the new platform to aim for another higher target.

Therefore, the steps to get sustainable improvements are:

1. Create a desired end state

  • Create a gap between current situation and the visionary goal or stretch target
  • Identify a plan to achieve the desired end state

2. Manage and Measure the improvement efforts

  • Get good quality Information
  • Apply the relevant Focus
  • Implement effective Actions

3. Maintain the new standard

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Auditing processes for sustainability


We are all aware that there is limited time and resource available and so by using this process will ensure that the relevant effort is applied to achieve sustainable results.

By getting clarity on what you are aiming for will ensure that everyone is aligned to achieving the same end goal and so the improvement efforts will be focussed on this end result. By managing the measuring the efforts within Information, Focus and Actions will ensure that you are focussing on the areas that will deliver you the result. By implementing the relevant processes after achieving the end result will ensure that the improvement efforts are sustained.

Detailed explanation of the steps

1. Create the Gap process

To know where you want to be, you need to first know where you are. Therefore accurately define your current situation. Once this is known, you can identify the desired state or improvement target. By having done this, it creates a gap between the current situation (where you are now) and the future state (where you want to be).  You can then define the improvement actions required to reach the desired end state. The diagram below defines the process.


2. Manage and measure the improvement efforts

To ensure that you are consistently working on the areas that driving you to achieve the relevant results it is important to pay attention to the accuracy and relevance of the data you are using to determine the improvement actions, how often you are reviewing the information and finally how effective the actions are once implemented. This can be demonstrated simply as follows:


This formula suggests:

  • Poor information = focusing in the wrong place, wasting time and effort
  • Inadequate focus = have great data, but don’t review it, do the same things always done
  • Low frequency/quality of decisions/actions = missing opportunities, problems getting worse

Therefore measure and manage the inputs and the results are guaranteed.

3. Maintain the new standard

Once the improvement goal or target is reached, there have to be certain processes implemented to sustain the effort; otherwise the improvement will be short lived. One way of doing this is to implement auditing processes. This will ensure that the required new standards are effective and maintaining the improvements. Also, standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the new processes should be put in place to ensure that everyone is trained up and working with the new processes.


If the outlined steps are followed for every improvement effort, improvement goals will be achieved consistently and the improvement efforts will be sustained.

This process can be applied to improvement goals of any type and size. The amount of effort applied in each area will depend on the type and size of the improvement goal.

Current State Assessment

  1. Do you constantly achieve your improvement goals?
  2. Are your improvement efforts well managed and structured?
  3. Do you get consistent and constant feedback on effectiveness of the actions?
  4. Are the improvements always sustained?



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