Continuous improvement is a heralded business concept referring to any policy or process within a workplace that helps keep the focus on improving the way things are done on a regular basis. Bringing this concept to the personal can have excellent results.
Are you currently at your personal best? If yes, how did you get there? If not, what’s missing? You maintain your personal best by frequently assessing your skills, behavior, performance, emotional intelligence and productivity and then identifying ways to improve. It keeps you in top form and gives your best to the world.
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As uncomfortable as they are, a lot can be learned from missteps and failures. Making the most of them involves letting what happened teach you what to do and not do the next time that you are in a similar situation. Instead of running from such experiences, identify constructive take-aways, so that the next time you do better.
Think of a recent misstep or failure. Identify your take-aways and put them into practice. That way, you’ll create a practice of continuous improvement that can serve you well.
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After writing my last blog post, Your Past Informing Your Present, I thought about how your present might inform your past. Yes, that’s not the usual way we go; however there is something to it.
If you look at your past actions, attitudes and decisions from the vantage point of now, there’s a good chance you are wiser and more experienced than you were then. Evaluating past actions is a practice of continuous improvement, if you do it well.
You carry your past throughout your life. Why not use it to your advantage? What might you have done differently in the past, if you knew what you know today?
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How far are you reaching now to advance your career? Reaching puts you ahead of the crowd, gets you beyond the status quo and keeps you growing. There are many ways to reach. Here are a few:
• Identify a skill that can use improving and take a class, find a mentor or employ another way to improve that skill.
• Identify a career goal that stretches you and go for it.
• Ask someone you trust what he or she thinks you can improve relating to your emotional intelligence and work to do so.
• Pick a personal goal that stretches you and go for it. For example, running a marathon or entering a speech contest. Personal improvement has a positive effect on work performance.
Reaching serves you. Find something to reach for in the next month and be the best you can be!
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What’s your next move to further your career? It could be something you do personally (rebalance, take time for something, nurture yourself) or professionally (build a skill, face a problem, take a step forward).
It is always good to be proactive. Your career needs your leadership. You want to guide it like an arrow, not let it be a target. Take a moment to look at where your career is now. Does something cry out for your attention? Are you bored or in a difficult situation? Is there something you’d like to do or a step you want to take?
Taking deliberate, proactive steps forward will bring your career to where you want it to be.
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Nothing stays the same. Your life shifts and changes, whether you are conscious of it or not. Better to guide the direction of your growth, than leave it to chance.
How did you grow in 2015? What areas do you want to grow in next year?
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Whether managing yourself or a team, continuous improvement serves you well. Here are some ideas on managing effectively.
1. See yourself as having prime accountability for how well you manage.
2. Identify and stay close to your values in all that you do.
3. Be realistic about time – don’t over or underestimate the time you have to do something.
4. Keep open lines of communication – stay approachable.
5. Create a practice that is effective in bringing you back to center, when stress gets the better of you.
6. Never give your power to anyone. You are the CEO of your career and you always have options.
7. Identify one thing each month that you will try out to improve how you manage.
8. Employ good listening skills.
9. Seek happiness and fulfillment in your work. You don’t have to settle for less.
10. Be aware of what is going on around you and understand the environment you are working in.
photo: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net