Continuous Improvement; Values, Assumptions and Beliefs for Successful Implementation: It's All About the Culture

Continuous Improvement

Robert E. Hamm Jr., Beth Y. Kohsin and Katie McSheffrey Gunther

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In an increasingly turbulent and competitive world, organizations are constantly working to improve. Many organizations look to one of many continuous process improvement methodologies available today. Leaders who have been able to reap the benefits of continuous improvement behave in very specific ways. Their behaviors are centered on imbedding specific values, assumptions and beliefs that support continuous improvement into the way their organization executes the processes necessary to produce goods and services.

To improve, leaders must first understand what culture is and how it impacts everything the organization does. We describe the key values, assumptions, beliefs and leadership behaviors we have found to be effective in organizations working to constantly improve the way work is done.

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Robert E. Hamm, Jr.

Robert E. Hamm Jr., PhD, has served as a leader in organizations responsible for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, support equipment and aviation components for over 30 years. The author’s experience with continuous process improvement began in 1992 when employed to conduct Quality Assessments using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria in the public sector. Preparation to lead continuous process improvement in a large organization began with training at a number of aviation industry companies implementing continuous process improvement.

Beth Y. Kohsin

Beth Y. Kohsin has served as a leader in healthcare for over 34 years. For the past seven years, she has served as the principal advisor on continuous improvement to executive leaders of a major public sector healthcare enterprise and teaches continuous improvement methods applied to healthcare at all levels. She holds a master’s degree in nursing with a specialty in critical care, is a certified professional in healthcare quality and a certified change management practitioner.

Katie McSheffrey Gunther

Katie McSheffrey Gunther, PhD, is an industrial-organizational psychologist specializing in military culture and professional identity. As an engineer in the United States Marine Corps, the author was introduced to continuous process improvement through formal project management activities. As both a social scientist and civilian leader for the Army and Air Force, she has contributed to problem definition and measurement of outcomes for CPI, educational interventions, and policy initiatives.