Management and leadership

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Unit of Competency
Application
This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to lead and manage continuous improvement systems and processes. Particular emphasis is on the development of systems and the analysis of information to monitor and adjust performance strategies, and to manage opportunities for further improvements.
It applies to individuals who take an active role in managing a continuous improvement process in order to achieve an organisation’s objectives.
At this level, work will normally be carried out using complex and diverse methods and procedures which require the exercise of considerable discretion and judgement, using a range of problem-solving and decision-making strategies.
No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.
Unit Sector
Management and leadership
Performance Criteria
ElementElements describe the essential outcomes.
Performance CriteriaPerformance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.
1.       Lead continuous improvement systems and processes
1.1   Develop strategies to ensure that team members are actively encouraged and supported to participate in decision-making processes, assume responsibility and exercise initiative as appropriate1.2   Establish systems to ensure that the organisation’s continuous improvement processes are communicated to stakeholders1.3   Ensure that change and improvement processes meet sustainability requirements1.4   Develop effective mentoring and coaching processes to ensure that individuals and teams are able to implement and support the organisation’s continuous improvement processes1.5   Ensure that insights and experiences from business activities are captured and accessible through knowledge management systems
2.       Monitor and adjust performance strategies
2.1   Develop strategies to ensure that systems and processes are used to monitor operational progress and to identify ways in which planning and operations could be improved2.2   Adjust and communicate strategies to stakeholders according to organisational procedures
3.       Manage opportunities for further improvement
3.1   Establish processes to ensure that team members are informed of outcomes of continuous improvement efforts3.2   Ensure processes include recording of work team performance to assist in identifying further opportunities for improvement3.3   Consider areas identified for further improvement when undertaking future planning
Foundation Skills
This section describes language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills incorporated in the performance criteria that are required for competent performance.
Reading
Identifies and extracts relevant information from a range of complex texts
Locates, interprets and analyses workplace documentation to gather information relating to continuous improvement.
Writing
Develops complex texts related to continuous improvement processes according to organisational requirements
Ensures the vocabulary, grammatical structures and conventions are appropriate for the context and target audience.
Oral Communication
Presents information to a range of audiences using appropriate structure and language
Listens and comprehends information from a variety of spoken exchanges with clients, co-workers and other stakeholders
Confirms understanding through questioning and active listening.
Navigate the world of work
Develops strategies to enable compliance with legislative requirements and achievement of the organisation’s goals
Monitors adherence to organisational policies, procedures and protocols and considers own role in terms of its contribution to broader goals of the work environment.
Interact with others
Identifies and uses appropriate conventions and protocols when communicating with colleagues and external stakeholders
Collaborates with others to achieve joint outcomes, playing an active role in facilitating effective group interaction and  influencing direction.
Get the work done
Takes responsibility for developing, implementing and monitoring systems and processes to achieve organisational outcomes
Uses analytical and lateral thinking to review current practices and develop ideas for improvement
Reflects on the ways in which digital systems and tools are used, or could be used, to achieve work goals.
Assessment Requirements
Performance Evidence
Evidence of the ability to establish systems and processes for continuous improvement that:
Facilitate effective contributions to and communications about continuous improvement processes and outcomes
Address sustainability requirements
Incorporate mentoring, coaching and other support to enable people to participate effectively in continuous improvement processes
Capture insights, experiences and ideas for improvements and incorporate them into the organisation’s knowledge management systems and future planning.
Knowledge Evidence
To complete the unit requirements safely and effectively, the individual must:
Explain how systems and procedures can support effective continuous improvement
Explain how continuous improvement systems and processes relate to other business systems and requirements including, knowledge management, quality, performance management and sustainability.
Assessment Conditions
Assessment must be conducted in a safe environment where evidence gathered demonstrates consistent performance of typical activities experienced in the management and leadership field of work and include access to:
Relevant workplace documentation and resources
Case studies and, where possible, real situations
Interaction with others.
Assessors must satisfy NVR/AQTF assessor requirements.
Links
Companion volumes available from the IBSA website: http://www.ibsa.org.au/companion_volumes – https://vetnet.education.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=11ef6853-ceed-4ba7-9d87-4da407e23c10
1. Lead continuous improvement systems and processes
1.1.      Develop strategies to ensure that team members are actively encouraged and supported to participate in decision-making processes, assume responsibility and exercise initiative as appropriate
1.2.      Establish systems to ensure that the organisation’s continuous improvement processes are communicated to stakeholders
1.3.      Ensure that change and improvement processes meet sustainability requirements
1.4.      Develop effective mentoring and coaching processes to ensure that individuals and teams are able to implement and support the organisation’s continuous improvement processes
1.5.      Ensure that insights and experiences from business activities are captured and accessible through knowledge management systems
1.1 – Develop strategies to ensure that team members are actively encouraged and supported to participate in decision-making processes, assume responsibility and exercise initiative as appropriate
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Take a variety of measures to encourage participation, acceptance of responsibility and initiative within the organisation.
Participating in decision-making processes
If staff members are encouraged to participate in decision-making processes then they will be more likely to take ownership and accept accountability. It is important for the staff members to feel that they have your full support and that their jobs won’t be at risk if wrong decisions are taken. There should be opportunities to make decisions about aspects of work that they are directly related with. An example might involve a staff member who is involved in the manufacturing of business products. They may have the opportunity to make decisions about ways of modifying the process for improved speed and efficiency. The team members will stand the best chance of making good decisions if they have excellent knowledge of the issues being addressed.
The benefits of involving employees in decision-making processes include:
Employees feeling that their contributions are valued
Increased sense of morale and involvement
Increased commitment to the organisation
Improved motivation and attitude towards risk taking.
A good model to use with staff is noted below:
Above the line behaviour
AccountabilityResponsibilityOwnership
Below the line behaviour
ExcusesDenialBlaming others
You may encourage staff to operate ‘above the line’ by ensuring that they accept accountability for their actions, assume responsibility for organisationaldecision-making processes, and take ownership of their job roles and the consequences of the decisions they make.
Behaviour that is ‘below the line’ usually stems from alack of security or lack of self-esteem. A good manager should empower staff to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, expecting them to operate from ‘above the line’ at all times.
Assuming responsibility
It is likely that there will be some team members within your organisation who aren’t keen on assuming responsibility. This might be because they are afraid of what might happen if they fail or they believe that set tasks are beyond their skill and knowledge levels. However, there are numerous benefits which may be enjoyed by those team members who are willing to take on responsibility. They may take pride in their work and enjoy the praise when tasks are completed to expected standards. Other team members may also notice the willingness to accept accountability and responsibility for successes and failures.
It is important to speak with those people who are reluctant to assume responsibility. You should encourage them to speak openly about any concerns and troubles that they are experiencing in the workplace. You might identify the need for adjustments or praise as a means of encouraging the employees to take greater responsibility. It might be possible to allocate roles which are more in line with the employee’s existing skills and knowledge.
It will be necessary to clarify the responsibilities of each individual employee. You should refer to their job descriptions and ensure that their expectations are clearly stated and understood. It would also be worth creating a job responsibility matrix, detailing the involvement of various employees and tasks which have to be completed.
Here is an example of a responsibility matrix which may be completed:

Sarah
Bob
Bill
Brian
Greeting guests

Accompanying guests to their tables

Presenting menus and taking orders

Serving drinks and meals

Taking payments

You should ensure that employees have the necessary resources and support for the fulfilment of their responsibilities. They should be provided with guidance and assistance when necessary. It will also be important to praise the employees for their contributions and treat them fairly when mistakes are made. However, the employees shouldn’t feel like they are being constantly monitored and scrutinised.
Exercising initiative
It will be important for employees to exercise an appropriate level of initiative as part of the continuous improvement process. They should be prepared to make decisions which involve an element of risk in the knowledge that they will have the support of senior staff members. You should arrange regular meetings and consider other means of encouraging employees to make suggestions. It will also be necessary to praise positive contributions and ensure that the best ideas are implemented. The employees should be encouraged to take responsibility and ownership over the implementation of ideas.
As Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says, “When employees know that mistakes won’t lead to retribution, it creates an atmosphere in which people are willing to take chances in order to come up with ideas and suggest changes. This environment is important to a company’s long-term success.”
Integrating innovation
There are numerous ways of encouraging innovation within your business. You should be aiming to stimulate employees to come up with new ideas and find ways of overcoming problems. You should have faith in their ability to develop innovative solutions and accept certain amounts of risk. If employees are pressurised and not encouraged to contribute their innovative ideas then there will be a reduced chance of business progress.
Your organisation should have a clear vision and statement of intent, based upon the need for innovation. It will be necessary to provide appropriate training and ensure that your employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to identify and act upon innovative ideas. Technology company 3M allow their workers to allocate 15% of their time to work on the development of innovative ideas and projects outside the scope of everyday work.
There should be guidance from the top of the organisation. Business managers should set positive examples and ensure that employees feel inspired to innovate. They should regularly reinforce the innovation strategy and the role of employees in achieving positive innovative outcomes for the business. There should be recognition for all ideas and a willingness to take action. The culture of innovation should be established and regularly reinforced, so that employees are constantly on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities.
You can inspire innovation in the following ways:
Integrate processes and events for the capture of ideas. This might involve the placement of a suggestions box on your business premises. Alternatively you may arrange workshops and brainstorming sessions
Ensure that your employees feel able to offer their perspectives and share business ideas without fear of criticism
Encourage your employees to explore the industry and take time away from the usual business environment in order to identify opportunities for innovation
Encourage your workers to take risks and experiment, despite the risks of failure
Encourage the sharing of ideas between employees. This may involve team-working activities, newsletters and intranet messages about the contributions that different workers are making
Maintain positive streams of communication with customers and take account of what they are saying about your business. You should make the most of digital technologies to monitor the industry and discover opportunities for innovation
Emphasise that all members of your workforce have a role to play in innovation. There will be a greater chance of developing great ideas if all of the employees are encouraged to offer their perspectives
Consider the ability of potential employees to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas.
Activity 1A
1.2 – Establish systems to ensure that the organisation’s continuous improvement processes are communicated to stakeholders
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Use communication systems to address a variety of continuous improvement processes with key stakeholders.
Establishing communication systems
It will be necessary to communicate the organisation’s continuous improvement to stakeholders as a means of demonstrating commitment to the progression of your business. You will be expected to provide details of the objectives which it is hoped that the business will achieve. You should also inform stakeholders of the processes and responsibilities which have been allocated as part of the continuous improvement system. Stakeholders should be aware that continuous improvement is the process of consistently reviewing what is donein search of a better way and improving the organisation in every aspect of its activities.
You may use the following communication systems:
Forums and meetings
Newsletters and reports
Policies and procedures
Electronic communication devices.
The continuous improvement processes that may be addressed include:
Cyclical audits and reviews of workplace, team, and individual performance
Evaluations and monitoring of effectiveness
Modifications and improvements to systems, processes, services, and products
Policies and procedures that allow an organisation to systematically review and improve the quality of its products, services, and procedures
Evaluation of compliance with relevant business legislation
Seeking and considering feedback from a range of stakeholders.
Stakeholders may include:
Business or government contacts
Funding bodies
Individuals within the work team
Internal and external contacts
Organisation’s clients and customers
Professional associations
Senior management and board members
Unions and employee groups.
Communicating continuous improvement
Once the Continuous Improvement Process has been established, it should be communicated to all staff, managers, and departments to get feedback on the process itself and how well it is working within the organisation.
This is one way the organisation can empower the staff and make them further accountable for the entire improvement process.
It is also a good way to help staff and management to become more self-directed in the entire decision-making process.
“There is a lot of talk in management circles today about the need to ‘empower’ people.Empowerment is the process of moving direction and support from outside to inside people – from boss to follower – so that people become more self-sufficient.It means helping people in organisations become their own managers and decision makers.This requires some changes in traditional roles.Some say it calls for ‘inverting the pyramid’.
Traditional organisations are composed of top managers at the top, middle managers and supervisors in the middle, and the people who do the work at the bottom.The responsibility for key decision making traditionally rests with those at the top of the pyramid, while people at the lower levels are expected to carry out these decisions without having a part in making them.
Nowadays, the wisdom of this top-down flow of information and resources is being questioned.There is a growing realisation that the workers on the front lines are the ones whose motivation and commitment really contribute most to quality and service.By sharing more of the responsibility for making decisions with these workers, productivity, quality, and service can be improved.
Such a change from traditional ideas would mean a shift in role for bosses.Managers and supervisors would need to take more of a supporting role and less of a directing one.Thus, the pyramid comes to be inverted.To be carried out effectively, these and other needed changes cannot be simply announced. The change must be managed.”
Ken Blanchard
Continuous improvement processes that are in place within an organisation need to be communicated to all staff at all times.
When staff members are not kept informed of changes in the workplace, they will begin to feel resentment towards the organisation and productivity, loyalty, and accountability will decrease.
Some of the side effects of this can also include:
High staff turnover
Staff are unmotivated
Higher absenteeism
Negative impact on the company culture.
Continuous improvement and performance management
You should be aware of the association between performance management and continuous improvement. It is likely that staff members will be resistant to the process of change. This may be because they are used to established working methods or are concerned about the security of their jobs. However, you can increase the levels of commitment and motivation by explaining the reasons for change and objectives that you are hoping to achieve. You should take the opportunity to speak with them, address any concerns, and ensure that all of the necessary resources are in place for the successful implementation of change. Positive employee contributions should be recognised and you should provide regular updates on progress towards the improvement goals.
Activity 1B
1.3 – Ensure that change and improvement processes meet sustainability requirements
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Implement change and improvement processes in accordance with a variety of sustainability requirements of relevance to the organisation.
Meeting sustainability requirements
You will need to account for environmental sustainability when implementing change and improvement processes. Ideally these processes will have minimal impact on the environment and not damage the reputation of your business in any way.
Sustainability requirements may include:
Addressing environmental and resource sustainability initiatives, such as environmental management systems, action plans, green office programs, surveys, and audits
Applying the waste management hierarchy in the workplace
Complying with regulations and corporate social responsibility considerations for sustainability to enhance the organisation’s standing in business and community environments
Determiningthe organisation’s most appropriate waste treatment, including waste to landfill, recycling, re-use, recoverable resources and wastewater treatment
Implementing ecological foot-printing
Implementing environmental management systems, e.g. ISO 14001:1996 Environmental management systems life cycle analyses
Implementing government initiatives, e.g. Australian government’s Greenhouse Challenge Plus
Improving resource and energy efficiency
Initiating and maintaining appropriate organisational procedures for operational energy consumption
Introducing a green office program (a cultural change program)
Introducing green purchasing
Introducing national and international reporting initiatives, e.g. Global Reporting Initiative
Introducing product stewardship
Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
Reducing use of non-renewable resources
Referencing standards, guidelines and approaches, such as sustainability covenants, and compacts or triple bottom line reporting
Supporting sustainable supply chain.
Ensuring the sustainability of your business
Sustainable strategies should be followed for the long-term success of your business. They should outline the means of adapting to changes in the economy, society, and professional environment. Comprehensive planning will allow your business to stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of employees and customers. It will enable you to ascertain the feasibility of business ideas and identify issues which could have a significant impact on your organisation. You should take account of the costs that may be incurred over time. It may be necessary to account for training and expected changes in location. You are also encouraged to consider the long-term sustainability of your health and safety policies and prospects of retaining or employing new staff members. Market research and analysis of your financial records may allow for the identification of sustainability issues.
Activity 1C
1.4 – Develop effective mentoring and coaching processes to ensure that individuals and teams are able to implement and support the organisation’s continuous improvement processes
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Arrange coaching or mentoring as appropriate for implementation of continuous improvement processes.
Coaching and mentoring are very similar and are often used as interchangeable terms.
There are subtle differences, however:
Coach Mentor
A coach will usually focus more specifically on a task or various tasks A mentor is usually always working within the organisation and provides a general ability to assist in the long term
Coaching is usually more technically focussed therefore is not a long term relationship based situation A mentor will usually be someone who has a good working knowledge of the organisation and the job role of the person who is being mentored
Coaching is often provided by way of new employees being allocated a buddy to help them understand their new job role A mentor will usually have the expertise to be able to guide and assist employees in a broad range of matters and situations
Can be applied when a staff member is promoted and they need further instruction on the new job Mentors can provide support and guidance with career progression and general counselling to the person being mentored
Coaching usually ends once the staff member understands their new job role The mentor will usually be a good representation of organisational expectations
Encouraging staff to act as coaches or mentors in the workplace ensures that the person being coached or mentored can learn and grow within the organisation and become more proficient in their job role.
Mentoring and coaching may refer to:
Providing assistance with problem-solving
Providing feedback, support, and encouragement
Teaching another member of the team, usually focusing on a specific work task or skill.
Staff and managers should be encouraged to present ideas and concepts and provide feedback on the relative success or improvement of the Continuous Improvement Process.
Staff may be encouraged to have more input if the services of an internal coach or mentor are utilised. The one-on-one attention should provide the employees with the opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions in a relaxed and unintimidating manner.
For the coaching and mentoring relationship to work well the following aspects will be important:
The person receiving the coaching or mentoring should feel comfortable sharing ideas with the coach or mentor
The coach or mentor should be a person that can be trusted
The coach or mentor should be familiar with adult learning principles to make sure they understand how best to manage the relationship
The coach or mentor should be experienced in what they are coaching or mentoring in
The situation should be approved by management
Time should be allocated to dedicate to the coaching or mentoring process (e.g. one hour per week or fortnight, or more if time permits)
A “Mentoring or Coaching Agreement” should be entered into by both parties
Information that is confidentially shared between the parties should remain so
The relationship should remain professional at all times, with the coach or mentor not taking advantage of their position of higher knowledge.
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
Activity 1D
1.5 – Ensure that insights and experiences from business activities are captured and accessible through knowledge management systems
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Use a variety of knowledge management systems as appropriate for the capture and accessibility of business insights and experiences.
Capturing insights and experiences
It will be necessary to monitor and analyse the success of your business activities in order to establish the effects of any changes that have been implemented as part of the continuous improvement programme. You will be expected to use a variety of knowledge management systems in order to gather, collate, and store information about the business activities.
Knowledge management systems may include:
Best practice transfer –the organisation of information about particularly effective competitor business activities. It should be possible to learn and adopt similar strategies for the assurance of success
Communities of practice–the gathering of information which is shared between professionals, either in the workplace, or via the internet. It is common for individuals from the same professional areas to gather and share their perspectives and ideas
Cross-project learning– the sharing of information between staff members who are working on different projects within an organisation. This system should enable the sharing of information about successes and mistakes which can be repeated or avoided
Expert directories–the sharing of information by designated experts within an organisation. These experts may share helpful insights and tips via the business intranet
Knowledge brokers’ knowledge mapping – knowledge maps are used for the purpose of identifying the location of information within organisations. They may specify the names and titles of professionals with knowledge of different business areas. The process of knowledge sharing throughout the organisation should also be highlighted
Knowledge repositories – usually accessed via digital platforms, these repositories should hold a range of information about relevant organisational topics
Measuring and reporting intellectual capital–intellectual capital relates to information that is held by staff members and within business systems. Organisations with relatively large amounts of intellectual capital have a competitive advantage
Mentoring–involving the sharing of information and guidance of experienced and knowledgeable employees
Post-project reviews–involving the review and analysis of information which has been gathered during business projects as a means of informing future business activities
Proximity and architecture – relating to the structure of the organisation and the closeness of employees who may share business information
Storytelling –sharing stories which employees are able to relate to and learn from. Experienced employees may recount stories of previous business activities or detail the lessons that have been learnt by other organisations.
Activity 1E
Monitor and adjust performance strategies
2.1. Develop strategies to ensure that systems and processes are used to monitor operational progress and to identify ways in which planning and operations could be improved
2.2. Adjust and communicate strategies to stakeholders according to organisational procedures
2.1 – Develop strategies to ensure that systems and processes are used to monitor operational progress and to identify ways in which planning and operations could be improved
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Use systems to monitor and review progress
Recognise the various factors that influence how well staff members are performing.
Monitoring operational progress
Many modern organisations have systems in place that monitor and review the progress that is being made in different areas. These areas can include technology, financial, marketing, operations, human resources, and sales.
Performance can fluctuate dramatically within an organisation. Processes and systems need to be monitored to ensure that staff members are functioning effectively. There should also an environment of change and willingness to move with the times.
Strategies may include:
Clarification of roles and expectations
Communication devices and processes, such as intranet and email communication systems, to facilitate input into workplace decisions
Long-term or short-term plans that factor in opportunities for team input
Mentoring and ‘buddy’ systems to support team members to participate indecision-making
Performance plans
Reward and recognition programs for high-performing staff
Training and development activities
Operational progress may refer to:
Customer service indicators
OHS indicators
Productivity gains
Success in meeting agreed goals and performance indicators.
The following factors can influence the everyday performance of staff members.
Knowledge
The knowledge of staff members can assist their performance. They should have anup-to-date understanding of the industry and complete knowledge of the organisation and its offerings. They should be able to sell their services and/or products or perform their job function in accordance with industry standards.
Attitude
Attitude relates to the staff members and their perception of the organisation. It applies to the ways in which they are treated. If a staff member is treated well and knows that the company has their best interests at heart then their attitude is likely to reflect this. Attitude may be apparent during phone calls, sales pitches,or the presentation of business solutions. It will be necessary to monitor employee attitude at all times to ensure that it is in line with organisational expectations.
Skills
Training gaps and skills shortages should be identifiedas part of the continuous improvement cycle. It will be necessary to ensure that all staff members are fully trainedinroles. Job descriptions and performance management plans should be checked regularly for relevance. They should be updated when necessary.
Current level of motivation
Staff members are only human and humans will have fluctuating levels of motivation. The key is to make sure that they maintain motivation for the longest possible period. The organisation may have some incentives in place to keep them motivated, or provide a ‘time-out’ for them to increase their motivation levels. Staff should be allowed time off when they need it – even if it is leave without pay.
Personal issues
Everyone will be faced with personal issues that can affect their job performance at some stage.These can include divorce, illness, lack of sleep, breakdown of friendships, issues with children, bad hair days, etc.The organisation needs to take these into account and manage them accordingly.
Job security
If staff do not feel secure in their job roles then they are unlikely going to be able to sell the benefits, features, products, or services to a client or prospective client.If there are issues that an organisation is facing that relate to job security then the company should adopt a transparent policy and let everyone know exactly what is going on.
Company culture
Is the company culture dynamic?Exciting?Innovating?Changing?A company that has a negative culture will not attract or retain good people. It is also likely to have poor quality clients. If there is a culture of bullying, major change, or unsettled feelings then staff members will be negatively affected. Sales staff will inadvertently take this out on the field. It will be evident in telephone conversations with suppliers, vendors, and customers.
Relationships with colleagues
All staff should have a professional relationship with their colleagues.If everyone is happy to help, pitch in, and get a job done, then the effectiveness within a team will increase.
Implementing the review system
Once you have considered the aspects mentioned above then you can implement a review systemfor monitoring the progress of staff members, systems, and policies. It should be possible to adapt, based upon changing markets, changing needs, changing staff, and anything else that can affect the performance of the organisation.
There are some systems that can be utilised by an organisation for theachievement of this. If there isn’t an established system then it may be possible to adaptone that has been used in the past. Alternatively, you may develop a system from scratch based oninput and feedback from staff members.
It is very important for an organisation to recognise that its staff members can often provide the best advice and opinions on developing these systems and policies.
Staffwith hands-on experience should be able to provide valuable input based on objectives and outcomes.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Activity 2A
2.2 – Adjust and communicate strategies to stakeholders according to organisational procedures
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Create a summary of planned changes within the workplace
Identify the personnel who ought to be informed of adjustments
Communicate to relevant stakeholders using appropriate methods.
Communicating recommendations for adjustments
Organisations that provide a transparent framework for staff and customers alike are more likely to develop trust, reliability, and a sense of strength in the workplace.
People like to know what is going on.They like to be aware of changes, amendments and anything that is likely to have an impact on them. The more aware staff members are of changes in the workplace, policies, systems and anything else that could affect them, the more likely they are to take accountability and responsibility for their actions.
The best way to gather information on recommendations for improvement is to get feedback from customers – both internal, and external.
Some ways to do this include:
Questionnaires from clients
Questionnaires from staff
Feedback forms
Surveys
Informal feedback received
Formal feedback, including complaints(note that complaints should be looked at as an opportunity for improvement.If a complaint is not actioned, then the organisation has passed up an opportunity to improve their processes or procedures)
Sales figures(they should provide a good indication of what is going on.If figures are declining dramatically then it may be necessary to investigate reasons why).
This information should be collated and utilised to the advantage of the organisation. Feedback is the constant opportunity to make things better. It is the key to continuous improvement and ensuring the cycle is used to best effect.
Some ways in which the information can then be communicated to the relevant parties includes:
Regular meetings with staff
Regular meetings with clients
Newsletters
Blogs
Emails
Face to face meetings.
You will need to create a plan of action to communicate your findings. Information that is not utilised is information wasted.
Use the feedback as a method to improve the processes, systems, and procedures.
Note that feedback is never a personal attack on a person or the company.It is simply a tool that can be used to enhance and improve what is currently not working.
Feedback can also highlight areas that are working well and this information can also be utilised to implement similar systems or processes in other areas.
“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
Activity 2B
Manage opportunities for further improvement
3.1. Establish processes to ensure that team members are informed of outcomes of continuous improvement efforts
3.2. Ensure processes include recording of work team performance to assist in identifying further opportunities for improvement
3.3. Consider areas identified for further improvement when undertaking future planning
3.1 – Establish processes to ensure that team members are informed of outcomes of continuous improvement efforts
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Use a variety of communication methods to keep staff members informed of the outcomes of continuous improvement efforts.
Keeping team members informed
It will be necessary to update staff members on the progress and success of continuous improvement. They should be informed of the positive aspects and further improvements that could be made in their own work. The efforts and positive contributions of team members should be recognised for maintained motivation and commitment. The outcomes of continuous improvement may also be measured against established performance indicators and then communicated to the team members.
The outcomes of continuous improvement may be communicated in the following ways:
Intranet updates
Blogs
Newsletters
Forums
Social media messages
You should ensure that all of the essential details are included when communicating with staff members. It will be necessary to use fairly basic vocabulary, grammatical structures and conventions to ensure that such communications are easily understood. Staff members should also have the opportunity to ask for clarification as necessary.
It will also be necessary to hold face to face meetings with the team members. You should take the opportunity to pose questions and encourage the team members to provide information about their perspectives on the continuous improvement processes. Suggestions regarding possible changes and further improvements should also be encouraged. You should demonstrate the ability to listen attentively and process information. It might be necessary to ask questions to ensure that you fully understand all of the points made by team members.
Opportunities for discussions about continuous improvement may include:
General meetings
Training and workshops
One-on-one meetings
Informal workplace tours
Activity 3A
3.2 –Ensure processes include recording of work team performance to assist in identifying further opportunities for improvement
3.3 – Consider areas identified for further improvement when undertaking future planning
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
Use a variety of methods to record work team performance and provide feedback to the employees
Evaluate the potential areas of further improvement and maintain the cycle of continuous improvement.
Recording work team performance
There should be a system for the recording of work team performance which can be applied upon the implementation of your continuous improvement programme. You will need to monitor the employees and compare their work against established performance objectives. It will be necessary to identify any problems that have been encountered and aspects of work which could be improved. You will also be expected to provide feedback,detailing information that has been gathered when monitoring the employees. They should be provided with accurate performance data and informed of any work which hasn’t quite met expectations.
Recording of work team performance may include:
Annotated performance plans
Quantitative data, such as production figures
Recommendations for improvement
Records and reports
Appropriate means of evaluation
It is quite likely that continuous improvement will have been implemented as a means of meeting different business objectives. However, you might identify alternative strategies, which could speed up the process of meeting your initial goals and stimulate theexpansion of the business. Measurements should be established to find out the relationship between continuous performance and different success criteria. You may be particularly concerned with the effects upon profitability, customer engagement, and growth. You could even benchmark performance against similarly sized rival companies. The benefits of continuous improvement should far outweigh the costs. You should consider the amounts of time and resources that are invested when implementing continuous improvement strategies. There may be a possibility of allocating money for training programmes and equipment which could further enhance your business.
Questionnaires and surveys may be issued to find out whether your continuous improvement strategies are having the desired effect. Members of the workforce may have realised the benefits of continuous improvement methods. However, they may also have ideas which could be implemented for greater efficiency. Data regarding customer complaints and product returns may also be analysed. A thorough evaluation is bound to result in the identification of further opportunities.
Considering areas for further improvement
It is likely that you will identify a variety of further improvements when reviewing the impact of the initial change process. You should refer to established objectives and key performance indicators for the measurement of any success that has been achieved. It should be possible to incorporate any identified areas of further improvement and restart the continuous improvement process so that your organisation continues to make progress.
It might be deemed necessary to make changes in order to avoid the types of mistakes that were made during the initial process. You might also have the opportunity to apply your learnings and incorporate changes that are likely to have a positive impact.
Activity 3B
Summative Assessments
At the end of your Learner Workbook, you will find the Summative Assessments.
This includes:
Skills assessment
Knowledge assessment
Performance assessment
This holistically assesses your understanding and application of the skills, knowledge and performance requirements for this unit. Once this is completed, you will have finished this unit and be ready to move onto the next one – well done!
References
These suggested references are for further reading and do not necessarily represent the contents of this unit.
Websites
Employee involvement in decision making:
https://www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/decision-making-10/managing-group-decision-making-81/employee-involvement-in-decision-making-390-402/
Helping people take responsibility:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/taking-responsibility.htm
Encouraging responsibilities:
https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/toolboxes/toolbox316/ip/ip_c03.html
Team initiative exercises:
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/team-initiative-exercises-25031.html
Team building exercises:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_52.htm
Communicating continuous improvement:
https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/toolboxes/toolbox316/ci/ci_c16.html
KM tools:
http://www.knowledge-management-tools.net/knowledge-management-systems.html
Knowledge management system (KMS):
https://www.techopedia.com/definition/7962/knowledge-management-system-kms

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