Through Daily Improvement, leaders adopt a mindset of asking and showing instead of telling, as part of developing others.
For Daily Improvement to work, employees and frontline staff members must be viewed as the process and customer subject matter experts. These employees are best positioned to provide the most accurate information about the problems the process is encountering, along with the best understanding of the needs of the customers. However, they are also at times the least likely to speak up, if they do not feel empowered or safe to do so. The more engaged the frontline is, the more successful the organization’s Daily Improvement program will be.
This paradigm places great importance on leaders and their ability to engage their teams. Involving Managers, Directors, and Immediate Supervisors as coaches is critical to the success of any Daily Improvement (DI) program. By setting the direction, providing guidance, encouraging participation, providing training and resources, monitoring progress, removing barriers, and leading by example, the leadership team can help their team members better engage in the organization’s improvement activities. In the list below, we clarify the role that leaders play in setting DI up for success.
Set Clear Expectations and Encourage Participation
Leaders should set clear expectations for their teams regarding participating in the organization’s Daily Improvement program. When setting expectations, be sure to emphasize the importance of continuous improvement and the benefits it can bring to the organization, its customers, and its workforce. Expectations should include how often team members should participate, what types of improvements they should focus on, how they should report progress, and how they should escalate issues.
Provide Guidance and Support
Leaders should be available to answer any questions or concerns that teams might have. However, the purpose of being available to the team to answer questions isn’t to give them the answer but to help them explore their own thinking.
Provide Training and Resources
Leaders should provide training and resources to their team members to help them effectively participate in the Daily Improvement program. Training and resources should include an overview of problem-solving, tools for tracking progress, and access to appropriate data to support decision-making.
Monitor Progress and Provide Feedback
A leader needs to monitor the team’s Daily Improvement activities and ensure that the improvements are helping drive outcomes. The direct leader of the team should regularly provide constructive feedback, while recognizing and rewarding team success and individual contributions.
Lead by Example
Leaders should lead by example and actively participate in the Daily Improvement program. By attending huddles and being readily available for feedback, the leader can demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement and set a positive example for their teams to follow.