Three Steps for Continuous Improvement

Life is full of lessons. But we often don’t seem to learn from our mistakes or intentions to change. Hence, it is crucial to have a simple process of improvement that will help you enhance your performance.

Three Steps for Continuous Improvement

The three steps for continuous improvement form a pyramid.

A first initial strategic perspective offers clarity and direction to your goals.
Second tactical evaluation of your results provides you with improvement points.
A third operational improvement enhances your behaviour towards to the goal that you set.

The 3 components of the system

  1. Feed-up
  2. Feedback
  3. Feed-forward

Step 1. Feed-up: Clarify the goal

The goal of Feed-up is to ask: Where am I going?

Note that the question does not ask what the finite goal is but rather the direction of movement. In other words, between your goal and the expected outcome of your current trajectory might lie a difference.

After reflecting on the difference, an initial action could start the improvement process. So what is the one thing you can do today to get closer to one of your goals?

From this perspective of direction, focus on the essential action step that lies in front of you to get closer to your goal. The one thing to do that would give you the most bang for your buck.

So try something. Because after an initial action we will get feedback and strategic insights in where we should adapt.

Step 2. Feedback: Evaluate past performance

After an action feedback allows us to evaluate past performance. Looking for feedback that is tangible and transparent allows us to form a personal evaluation of the action step we took.

Feedback is asking yourself: How did it go?

Feedback is our most powerful tool to come up with improvement points. When we learn our lessons we see the mistake we made retrospectively. But it doesn’t help us change the past so that’s why it is important to apply your lessons to the future.

Step 3. Feed-forward: Modify future performance

The goal of the final level is to ensure you actively work with the previous experience to make the next experience better.

  • What can I do better?
  • Which next steps do I need to take?
  • What tools do I need to achieve the next steps?
  • Where do I need help?

That is why it is so crucial to take the initial goal / direction and add the Feedback to it in order to define future improvements and actions.

Climbing the pyramid

Humans learn by doing. We improve by doing. When we put something in practice we receive a consequence for our results. When we then slightly change the input, we also can see the effect on the output.

This is why it’s important to go through the three steps for continuous improvement. To learn from theory, and put theory into practice. Just to be a bit better the next time we try again. Until we climb the pyramid and obtain succes.

What are you trying to improve in your life?

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