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Ohhh, That’s Why It’s Called Continuous Improvement

Had a conversation recently with a friend about the time it takes to see organizational changes happen. Like many of us, he wants to see change happen immediately, at the snap of his finger. I completely understand that. I remember wanting the same. I had implemented a new training policy and after five or six months only half of the management staff was enforcing it. I was upset and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just follow the policy. As I sat in my office lamenting to my boss that the policy wasn’t being enforced, he looked at me and asked, “How many people were following the policy six months ago?” I responded, “No one.” And then he asked, “And how many are following it today?” I responded, “A little over half.” He said, “That’s called continuous improvement.” That’s when the light bulb came on. Duh, it’s called continuous improvement because it happens over time, not over night.

It may be a bit presumptuous to think just because a change has been implemented everyone will immediately let go of their beliefs, and subsequently, their actions, to do what we want them to do…just because someone said it’s important or the priority. How blessed you are if you have that change agent magic. But for most of us, we should expect change to happen incrementally, not all at once. Some people will see the benefit of the change right away, and others will not. So do yourself a favor, and let go of the idea that the organizational change will happen right now, this instant, at the snap of your finger. It won’t. Instead build the incremental change into your change plan, with a plan to address the resistance. You will feel a hundred times less frustrated if you do.

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