The 7 Key Traits to Implementation of Successful Continuous Improvement Programs

Continuous Improvement is a long-standing technique that businesses utilize to consistently increase efficiency and effectiveness. It may involve incremental improvement that occurs gradually or breakthrough improvements that seem to occur overnight. When continuous improvement is successful, businesses are able to fulfill their objectives and policy goals. 

But, what constitutes the successful implementation of a continuous improvement program? What has to happen to ensure it will work? What traits do the participants need to possess?

Through working with many businesses, we see several consistencies among successful efforts. Through analysis of these programs, we’ve identified seven key traits that lead to effective results.


Throughout this key process, many businesses divide employees into teams. Each team has responsibilities and goals. They are held accountable for completing tasks, finding solutions and measuring their successes. Of course, a certain degree of buy-in is required, but when charged with specific duties, employees respond positively to their accountable roles. Without this level of accountability, employees don’t feel like they are part of the process and count their efforts as inconsequential.


Leadership and vision at all levels of the process are required for successful continuous improvement plans. Employees need role models and guidance as they endeavor into unknown territories of their jobs. They need encouragement to try new things and to trust the process. They need praise for good efforts and criticism when applicable. As employees are separated into teams, leadership may emerge from selected individuals put in purposeful roles or others in the group who inspire their peers.


Nobody is immune to error. As efforts are made for consistent advancement, mistakes are common. Plans don’t always work. Humility is an essential trait for leaders and employees. Team members who are more worried about egos than results will never succeed or help reach increased efficiency.


The willingness to work together and build ideas as a team will increase the chances for a successful continuous improvement program. Businesses who fail to combine their resources cooperatively often fail in their attempts. It’s the development of new ideas and innovation that drives success.


Good communication on many levels is an essential trait for efficient and effective improvements. Success depends on teams’ abilities to discuss ideas and share information, within their groups and with others. Delivering messages about timelines, expectations and results promotes awareness and involvement among everyone inclusively.


The ability to assess issues fairly and objectively is necessary. Teams with predisposed opinions and the unwillingness to approach solutions with an open mind will fail. Employees and leaders must accept alternative solutions as possibilities and explore new options with fairness and respect. Teams who are immediately opposed to creative ideas to old problems will not reach their goals for improvement.


Change is inevitable, especially with businesses who operate in the global climate. Trends emerge, markets fluctuate, technologies improve...everything changes. Businesses must be capable of adapting and transitioning with changing needs in order to stay competitive, efficient and effective. Adaptability is key to constructive improvements.

We can help you implement or streamline your continuous improvement programs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!

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