3 Step Process of Continual Improvement


Some incredibly talented or successful people struggle to admit there’s room for personal improvement. Organizations often get stuck on the heels of their greatest successes when getting better seems unnecessary.

On the contrary, the healthy leaders and strong organizations know there is always room for improvement.  Even Warren Buffett admits to spending up to 80% of his work day reading, learning, thinking and improving.

Leaders keep improving. Organizations, while they can’t control growth, can ensure they continually get better. Improvement is a tool we use to move forward and make progress.

Below is a 3 step framework for continual improvement. 3 simple, focused questions. Use them as a personal system as you plan each week, month or quarter. Leverage this tool in your team meetings as you set goals and direction.

What’s the WIN?

Leaders struggle to slow down enough to realize where they are winning. Even when they recognize a win, it’s often difficult to fully embrace because there’s always another mountain to climb. This is short-sighted as, growth is sustained in the soil of gratitude. Begin with gratitude. Acknowledge the improvement that’s been realized. Give yourself a win. Feel good about what you’re doing and where you see progress. Give your team and yourself a pat on the back for things that are going well. A surefire way to keep improving is to see where you’re winning. 

Your Action Step: In your next team meeting, spend time reflecting on the wins from the past 30 days.

What’s the CHALLENGE?

Challenges don’t always mean you’re doing something wrong, but challenges almost always identify what will bring you momentum. What stands in the way of continuous improvement? Don’t be discouraged by this. One constraint being fixed will bring big momentum. The bigger the challenge, the greater the growth opportunity. The bigger the frustration or pain, the bigger the outcome once you solve it. Whatever challenges us is also going to give us our greatest growth. 

Your Action Step: In that same meeting, make a list of the top 5 problems that would create instant momentum if they were fixed.

What’s the ONE THING?

Focus is powerful. Improvement is sustainable when it is manageable. Single out one thing that will move you forward the fastest. Ask yourself: Of all the things I could do, what one thing would have the most impact? Put the one thing on your calendar. Schedule time to work on it. Focus on it until the next review point. That one decision will close 1000 other decisions. 

Your Action Step: Of the 5 challenges your team identified, 1 will actually make the greatest impact. Pick your team’s one challenge and make it your collective goal for the next 30 days.

Any leader or team can improve, but sustained growth happens by embracing gratitude, identifying challenges and working with focus!