Team GB’s outstanding performance certainly helps dispel the myth that the UK can’t flourish after Brexit. So what can businesses do to keep winning gold medals? A good start would be to recognise that much of what the athletes are putting into practice are the Continuous Improvement thinking and techniques of Lean Six Sigma.
Let’s head over to the velodrome where the success of our cyclists is attributed to coach Dave Brailsford’s “aggregation of marginal gains” philosophy – improving every little thing by 1%. That’s a nice way of describing Continuous Improvement and if you listen to Dave or the cyclists you’ll hear them say that it’s not just the improvements in themselves, but the mindset it creates in everyone in the team.
The key lesson here is that small incremental improvements are attainable for everyone and this enables a culture of continuous improvement to grow. It’s also why bite-sized Lean Six Sigma projects are so much more successful.
To the rugby now, and the victorious Fiji Rugby Sevens coach Ben Ryan who quit as England’s coach in frustration at “over-complication” said to CNN: “When you know what’s expected and it’s simple, it’s easy to maintain that standard. The boys know what’s expected. They’re empowered to do their thing.
Removing waste and complexity from processes makes them simpler to operate which makes it possible to empower employees. Empowered employees are more satisfied, provide better customer service, contribute more ideas and are more willing to embrace change.
And finally, the use of data in analysing and improving performance is widespread across so many sports today. Scientists used a mathematical model to explain how Usain Bolt’s speed can largely be attributed to his extraordinarily large stride length (2.44m), BAE Systems worked with UK Sport to enable British wheelchair athletes to achieve a 20% increase in acceleration through different racing positions, “iBoxer” software uses data on Team GB’s boxers and their opponents that reveals threats and opportunities for the fighters, helping them refine their tactics.
Lean Six Sigma applies data tools to measure, analyse and improve the performance of business processes and promote data based decision making.
Our Lean Six Sigma Green Belt programme is an ideal introduction to continuous improvement, thinking and practice.
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