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Don’t let jargon get in the way of improvement.

By Ian Crocombe

If you’re running a small or medium-sized business, some of the language you see or hear about how to improve might leave you a bit bemused.

You could legitimately be thinking ‘what on earth does Lean, 6 Sigma, Poka Yoke, Gemba or Hoshin Kanri have to do with my business?’

I agree! There’s a lot of jargon, very long and/or difficult words and general dark art stuff surrounding business improvement and the thing is, improving your business is too important to be shrouded in a cloud of verbal fog.

Take, for example, the question ‘so how do I go about improving my Business?’

Instead of making the language a barrier, how about this simple seven-step approach:

  1. Define the problem and / or what you want to improve
  2. Gather the measures to understand how the activity performs today and how it impacts your employees and customers
  3. Analyse what the measures tell you and more importantly, get off your seat and go see how this looks and feels in real life.
  4. Working with the people carrying out the activity, figure out what would make things better and create a prioritised list
  5. Pick the options that work best (depending on the degree of urgency, funds & skills available) and test it to prove it’s worth investing time and money in
  6. Once you’re happy with the test, deploy into day-to-day operations
  7. Check that you’re getting the outcomes you expected and react to any unexpected ones

If you involve and empower people, communicate and commit to making ongoing improvement a way of life, it becomes easily sustainable and, best of all, pays for itself.

Jargon-free, easy to grasp and practical advice. That’s the way we work across UKBA.

Ian Crocombe | UK Business Advisors (

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