How Does Implementing Formal Measures to Ensure Continuous Improvement Build Organisational Capability?
Continuous improvement is a persistent endeavour to refine and enhance strategy execution. This is commonly done through formal measures like training evaluation, training assessments, post-training enablement and communities of practice (i.e. a group of people with a shared learning concern or interest).
Why you should implement formal measures for continuous improvement when building organisational capability
Continuous improvement is an exercise in continually identifying and addressing areas of weakness in strategy. Applying that to organisational capability building means utilising measures to optimise workflows, employee knowledge and engagement, and overall, your bottom line.
In this instance, we’re talking about formalised approaches to capability building like communities of practice, mentoring and coaching, and continual leadership development—all measures that enable you to create iterative and constant change in your workforce, and ultimately, your organisation.
These enable you to show true business impacts like:
- Credible L&D metrics that are truly aligned with business strategy
- Centralised knowledge systems for organic knowledge transfer
- Real-time and systematic identification of capability gaps
- Real-time evaluation of the relevance and impact of training methods
- Better innovation and iteration amongst an active learning culture
- Streamlined ways of work and adaptability to change.
All of this gives you the capacity to maintain competitive advantage. You’re also able to shift gears more easily when it comes to meeting targets, which only serves to better meet your CEO’s priorities and expectations even in volatile or uncertain times. (Not to be dismissed when you consider 83% of companies who put emphasis on metrics and ongoing assessment meet or exceed targets, compared to the 61% who don’t.)
What are the challenges of formal measures ensuring continuous improvement on organisational capability building?
Formal measures for continuous improvement pose some unique challenges in terms of management, execution and organisational structure.
The first challenge is employee engagement. When employees feel disconnected from capability-building activities they aren’t able to enact widespread organisational change, nor will they feel the need to do so. (NB: McKinsey states that to enable effective transformational change in the workplace, you need to engage at least 25% of your employees.)
At a high level, improvements may seem intangible and therefore hard to measure and quantify without the right metrics in place. That makes it hard to prioritise areas for improvement at all, and with a finite amount of resources devoted to capability building, that may mean wastage on futile efforts. That’s without mentioning poor strategy execution, if you can affect any at all, negating the purpose of a capability program.
Lack of improvements affected can also lead to resistance to future change. Which means not only do you not have the capacity to change to meet organisational needs or goals, but it’ll be difficult to prevent or fix inefficient ways of work or detrimental behaviours since you’ll lack the social equity to implement new initiatives. And we’re back to challenge one, creating a cycle of poor implementations. You see the problem?
The impacts of not implementing formal measures to ensure continuous improvement on building organisational capability
When all is said and done, failing to implement formal measures at all leads to weak and ineffectual capability-building activities.
That’s largely down to one big issue: Knowledge silos. These alienate teams and fragment critical knowledge, impeding the channels through which knowledge transfer can occur naturally in the flow of work. You’ll miss out on self-sufficient learning culture that willingly seeks out knowledge systems you provide in this scenario.
When talking about organisational capability, that means:
- Stagnation, in which the organisation becomes unable to meet its own goals.
- An inability to adapt with economic change, whether that’s because of rigid systems or poor culture.
- A loss of competitiveness since you’re not addressing, let alone identifying, weaknesses.
- All capability building measures will likely be reactive rather than proactive, considering you’re lacking real-time insight into capability gaps.
- Dissatisfaction from customers as a result of not being able to meet their needs.
- Decreased efficiency, which only means increased time to proficiency and time to market, lowered productivity and general resource wastage. Which also means it’s hard to justify any org development, L&D or HR costs.
- Lowered employee engagement. That only leads to poor culture, inefficient teams, and potentially high turnover in the long run.
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