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Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Are work simplification and continuous improvement on your organization’s radar?  They should be. 

According to the 2015 Human Capital Trends Report produced by Deloitte University Press, “Organizations are simplifying work in response to employees becoming overwhelmed by increasing organizational complexity, growing information overload, and a stressful 24/7 work environment.”  Deloitte goes on to note that, “More than 7 out of 10 surveyed organizations rated the need to simplify work as an “important problem,” with more than 25 percent citing it as “very important.”[1]

Organizations are striving to perform, innovate, and compete, all while providing work-life balance for employees. Add to that advances in technology, a globalized economy, and compliance needs, and we realize a vast complexity in our world of work. Left unaddressed, the challenges of a  highly demanding environment result in a workforce that is disengaged, frustrated, unproductive-and forget about innovative.

So what can be done about it? 

Maher & Maher has partnered with organizations in finance and healthcare, two highly evolving and regulated industries, who proactively embrace a culture of continuous improvement. By applying principles and methodologies of Lean Management, Kaizen, and Six Sigma, they implement individual, organizational, and work-specific strategies that reduce complexity, eliminate waste, and help their people focus on what really matters.

Because of our expertise in shifting cultures, building awareness, and delivering creative upskilling solutions, Maher has been called to collaborate with these organizations in support of their initiatives:

  • We have designed and launched a mobile-ready online academy to support a client’s implementation of Lean Management. The academy offers professional development “micro-learning” in the form of eLearning, videos, self-check exercises, Job Aids, and infographics. Topics range from Lean principles & practices, tools, processes, and the value of Lean to associates and the organization as a whole. It also facilitates the sharing of lessons learned and best-practices.
  • Another client needed to streamline a robust and overwhelming five-day Six Sigma session to one that is practical, application-based, and centered on problem-solving.  The key tools and data analytics utilized in this process were explained via eLearning tutorials and applied during a two-day workshop, where participants worked together to resolve a business problem in a timely and effective fashion.
  • Maher & Maher is currently working on a 12-month culture shift initiative to prepare a healthcare commercial operations team for Kaizen success. This four-phased strategy kicked off with awareness-building micro-learning in the form of newsletters, videos, eLearning, huddles, job aids, and infographics.  It will expand in the months ahead to include coaching workshops, team-driven Kaizen initiatives, and sharing of lessons learned.  Our ultimate goal is to prepare our client to realize continuous improvement within their commercial organization, and be primed to introduce Kaizen principles and practices to other divisions within the company in the future.

Our partners see us as integral to helping their daily work and overall culture shift to one that centers on continuous improvement. As more organizations take a similar lead, the need to facilitate the cultural, knowledge, and skill shifts that are critical to the success of these initiatives will grow. Leaders have an essential role in implementing management and process improvement systems; but they must also engage associates, and create a culture in which change is welcomed and success is recognized.

Maher & Maher sees a critical importance in eliminating waste and simplifying work so that organizations can hone in on customer value and retain workers who are dedicated to fulfilling that value. Building the right leadership, culture, processes, knowledge, and skills across an organization to support “Lean-like” systems is an ongoing initiative.  As the organization’s improvement efforts evolve, the rewards that such systems generate will be realized.


[1] D Agarwal, B Rea, A Berkel. Deloitte University Press; Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Leading in the new world of work. http://dupress.com/articles/work-simplification-human-capital-trends-2015/?id=gx:2el:3dc:dup1138:eng:cons:hct15 Last visited October 14, 2015.

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