A common theme in today's corporate culture is the idea of continuous improvement. Ultimately you plan to execute (or do) something, you do the work, you review how it went, and then you improve on the next iteration. On and on and on it goes!

The trajectory of improvement in this type of approach is usually quite shallow. Even the use of the word "improvement" is suggesting that we are just tweaking what we already know. It is predictable and comfortable. You know how to get from here to there. 

The risk of simply improving on what you already know is that you become predictable and your competition is much more likely to surpass you and leave you in their trail of dust. You are simply living and improving based on the past.

By instilling continuous improvement within our workforce, we ultimately, and unknowingly, put a ceiling on their creativity. We put a ceiling on their potential. Ultimately, we put a ceiling on how quickly our company can adapt to changing market conditions or trends.

Think of the Darwin theory. Your business is a specie in the ecosystem and for it to survive the next economic downturn, or remain competitive within the market, or better yet, to actually drive the market and force others to chase it instead, it has to evolve. It has to transform itself enough to find that differentiator that allows it to continue thriving. Otherwise, it risks dying a slow and painful death.

The way a business evolves and transforms is through innovation. Innovation is the gateway to new possibilities. It's a gateway to all the things you are not! Instead of focusing on continuous improvement, we should be focusing on continuous innovation! This works for businesses and people alike! Remove that ceiling from your workforce, embed the language into your business and you will see the results at all levels.

What I am suggesting is a culture of continuous innovation instead of continuous improvement. Unlimited possibility vs predictable growth. Thriving in the ecosystem vs surviving. A prosperous future vs a slow and painful death.

Death by continuous improvement

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