How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement: A Primer for Becoming the Best in the World

How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement: A Primer for Becoming the Best in the World

Joakim Ahlstrom

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 0071835237

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Your organizational transformation begins here!

Comprehensive, detailed, and easy to read and understand, How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement takes you through a real-life case study of one organization’s journey to a world-class continuous improvement process.

Joakim Ahlstrom―one of the world’s most respected continuous improvement experts―serves as your coach. He first helps you decide whether you want to embark on the continuous improvement journey and takes you through the entire process step by step, all the way through generating remarkable business results with his unique methods.

In each chapter, Ahlstrom describes a specific stage of the transformation story and provides a clear analysis of each one to help you apply his methods in your own company. In no time you’ll grasp all the concepts you need to know. How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement covers it all, including:

  • How to shift mindsets and behaviors using the often neglected practice of coaching
  • Common pitfalls to help you plan out how you will apply the principles and practices
  • Using “six-legged spiders” and “fishy” diagrams to achieve measurable results
  • Ways to avoid “Watermelon” key performance indicators that often mask the truth

Ahlstrom explains rational behind all the methods in the book―the results they produce, and why―and offers practical advice on how to get full input from everyone involved. Ahlstrom concludes the book with a chapter offering a current-state analysis tool and a simple template to apply in your company.

If you’re seeking to design and launch a continuous improvement program, How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement is the first book you should turn to―and it’s the last one you’ll ever need!

Praise for How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement

“Using a story he lived through, Joakim vividly brings to life for us the transformation from a mediocre top-down organization depending on a few internal experts for its survival to a high performance organization of empowered employees engaged in continuous improvement.”
–Jeffrey Liker, bestselling author of The Toyota Way

“This succinct book packs an enormous amount of wisdom and experience into an entertaining fast read. It gives a clear roadmap for any leader to implement a strong continuous improvement program in his or her unit. Highly recommended!”
–Alan G. Robinson, Professor of Management, University of Massachusetts and author of Corporate Creativity and Ideas are Free

“The most valuable and lean book I have read about lean.”
–Göran Martinsson, Continuous improvement Manager, IKEA

“Well written, easy to read, filled with excellent examples . . . If you only plan to read one change management book this year, this is the book you should read.”
–Dag Näslund, Professor of Management, University of North Florida

“An amazing guide in lean principles, with simple tools for simplifications.”
–Susanne Schipper, Continuous Improvement Coach, AstraZeneca

“Simplicity is the essence of this great book. Ahlstrom delivers a straightforward and simple approach to support your work with continuous improvement.”
–Ronny Ålund, Productivity Management, Volvo CE

“This book is a little gem with large content! Unlike many other books on the subject, you only have to read it once because it sticks.”
–Johan Valett, Vice President Haldex Way, Haldex

“I recommend How to Succeed with Continuous Improvement to anyone who needs a fast and inspiring introduction to continuous improvement.”
–Janne Lundberg, Global Lean Innovation Manager, Assa Abloy

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The Curriculum

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that was already the case when I only had 100 colleagues—and it would have been the same if there had been even fewer of us. This is why my third component is to create a structure that makes the work easier. Two important features of this structure are our ‘board meetings’ and our simple approach for setting targets and coaching each other to achieve them. And as you know we’ve been using an electronic system for a long time now that keeps track of all improvements at the IT company. This has

have? Can we list the three most important qualities they have in common? No, we can’t. Despite persistent attempts, researchers have only been able to show a connection to one single factor. People who have the best ideas are the people who have the most ideas. Nothing else seems to matter. The only thing that drives the quality of your ideas is the number of ideas you have. Focusing on the number of improvement ideas through clear targets and frequent follow-up is therefore the method

then be able to use everything they needed without any problems, including file servers, customer databases, e-mail programs, and so on. The IT company and some of its customers The IT company had been doing quite well. It had been growing steadily and employed some of the best IT staff in the region. One of its leading employees was Jonny, the head of the Operations and Customer Support groups. He was a company legend because he was able to understand computers and fix any problems more

given the job of doing something about the situation, and I was supposed to help him. Roger was a good-hearted and reserved thinker whose major passion in life was orienteering. I once heard him describe the sport as a compelling mix of brainpower, fitness, decision making, and a chance to appreciate nature. I, as all Swedes, had practiced some orienteering in school, but to me Roger’s portrayal was a bit over the top. My recollection of orienteering was as a navigation race in unfamiliar

to grasp and use, and it helps you to move toward your targets, it makes no difference what you call it. At the IT company we called it orienteering. The Activities That Started the Improvement Work We had a simple objective with our training—we wanted to explain two main concepts and, of course, get everyone thinking like orienteers. We also wanted the people taking part in the training to talk more than we, the people giving the training, did. We carried out the training department by

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