There is always a better way!

Organisations � and individuals � that succeed � and remain successful over time � never rest on their laurels. They know that in an increasingly competitive world, the only way is forward � and moving forward needs continual change.

This need not be massive or even large-scale change. Incremental change and improvement will help us know that this year we are at least a little better than we were last year.

We make these small improvements by making sure that we always ask questions about what we do and the way we do it. In fact, we should always ask first �

What do we achieve (by performing this task or activity)?

Why do we need to do it?

Is there anything else we could do instead?

Assuming the task or activity is essential (because it adds value to what we offer our customers) then we can ask further questions ....

Who does it? Why is it done by that section or department, or by that team or by that individual. Could it be done better or cheaper by someone else � perhaps an external supplier or outsourcing unit?

When is it done? When in the sequence of activities that make up the process? What is done before it? What is done after it? Could changing the order of things make a difference? When in terms of days of the week or time of day is it done? Does this matter?

Where is it done? Is this the right place? Does it have the right equipment? Do things have to be moved before or after the task to make sure everything is in the right place?

How is it done? What is the process? What equipment is used? What skills are needed?

If we ask these questions seriously � and make sure we answer them properly � we should end up by being able to answer these questions �.

Who should do it? ( � and why)

When should it be done? (� and why)

Where should it be done? (� and why)

How should it be done? ( � and why)

Hopefully, we now understand the task fully and through the questioning have come up with some � major or minor � changes that will improve quality, efficiency, timeliness or �.

And a few months � or perhaps a year � later, we ask the questions again. Something will have changed. Costs. Available technology. Available services. Customers� needs. And so the answers to our questions might be different � and we can make another small improvement.

If we do this to all the tasks we perform, those little changes can make quite a difference!


Productivity is my 'bag' ... it is what I know about. I am President of the World Confederation of Productivity Science - and Director of the National Productivity Centre in the UK - go to this site for some good free resources and some (paid for but low price) e-learning on productivity. I also edit the International Journal of Productivity & Performance Management. My views on productivity and on learning (which I think are related) are su...

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