Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ForwardView

Continuous improvement is a process by which we stay focused on the future, with only intermittent and brief backward looks.  Effort, energy and attention are primarily focused on the future, on getting better, everyday, somehow, on purpose.

It's a little like driving a car and keeping most of our attention on what's in front of us.  Of course, we take backward looks (via mirrors, please) to briefly and intermittently see what is behind us that might inform our next steps.  But, the broad view through the windshield is where attention is rightly focused.  That view helps us determine speed, direction, evasive action, acceleration, braking, course alteration, etc.

In the case of continuous improvement the brief backward looks are represented by data analysis, by after action reports, by rituals/celebrations.  None should take huge amounts of time - just enough to inform our next steps.  We must keep our attention primarily on the road ahead. 

It helps also to know where it is we want to go.  Skillful leaders help us envision those destinations.

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