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Driving Success in 2017, Business Principle "Continual Improvement"

Continual Improvement, a Permanent Objective of an Organization.

A company’s success is tied to its value system and the principles it follows in doing business.

The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate policies and practices aligned with principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.

An excellent report called “The UN Global Compact - Accenture CEO Study is one of the world’s largest CEO studies on sustainability, which is published every 3 years. This study is extensive with over 1,000 survey responses, 100 + countries, 26 industry sectors and over 250 engaged one-on-one interviews with over 50 CEOs who are innovators in their leadership.

The 2016 study revealed that CEO’s see a mandate to solve societal challenges as a core element in search for competitive advantage.

5 Things sustainable companies do as outlined by United Nations in their “Guide to Corporate Sustainability” are: 1) Principled business 2) Strengthening Society 3) Leadership Commitment 4) Reporting Progress 5) Location Action.

Business leaders are now being held accountable to not only their investors and shareholders, but to consumers. With the internet and social media the reputation of companies and individuals will impact the credibility of the product/service.

“The new currency of legitimacy for business will be outcomes: it’s all about action, delivery and real impact”, Paul Polman, CEO Unilever.

Value Added

I would add to this, “Is there value added by the activities performed? Do you put in place strategies that are measureable, and tied to your key business principles?

Change Management

Leaders of businesses have to be change agents, and therefore need systems in place to manage changes being made. I support integrated management systems rather than a silo approach (separate systems for quality, environment, health & safety). Communication of changes is important, however the “understanding” of the changes needed is critical.


ASSESS – REFLECT – ACT “Continual Improvement”

  1. How does the organization know if it is improving? Is work being done per improvement plan (objectives)? Does organization measure its improvements? How? Does it make adjustments going forward?

2. How does management ensure that the program or project worked on for continual improvement is rolled into the management system?

3. Is your management system designed to ensure ongoing continual improvement? How? Has it been able to create new business opportunities or influence new capital investments? What has changed in your organization’s performance due to continual improvement?

4. Who are your change agents or leaders? Do you have a change management process in place? Describe how it works? Is it effective? What matrix do you use to determine this? How is change management viewed at your organization? Is it looked at as building a stronger, successful company? Why or Why not?

5. Is the commitment to continual improvement visible throughout the organization? Visible to your customers? Is it supported with resources? Is there a plan of action? Is it encouraged? Rewarded?


"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” -- Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”

-- Steve Jobs, Apple

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