Ironically, many organisations use a tough economic environment to drive out changes that are often difficult to achieve when things are buoyant. This means that a recession can be one of the best times to embark upon a continuous improvement programme.

During a recession it is inevitable that businesses find it more difficult to make a profit and public sector organisations are asked to deliver more service for less money.

Successful organisations learn to be very pragmatic about changing and do not become wedded to ways of working.

Just because you change now does not mean that your previous methods were wrong. It might just mean that you are reacting to different circumstances.

Management practices that work well in one phase may bring on a crisis in another (Harvard Business Review author)

The golden rule of change is:

Never change for the sake of it. Only change for strong operational benefits.

Benefits of Change

Continuous improvement programmes are not ‘one size fits all’. It is important to take account of your organisation’s status in relation to the environment in which you now find yourself. There will be periods of ‘evolution’ (where you make a number of small changes that have a beneficial cumulative effect) and periods of ‘revolution’ (where you carry out a major overhaul of some of your systems).

A successful continuous improvement programme often has an element of both.