Expert Resources

Why it’s wise to commit to continuous improvement

You may have noticed that many businesses around the world have continuous-improvement programmes in place.  If you don’t yet know, you may well be asking: What, exactly, is continuous improvement? By definition, continuous improvement (often referred to as CIP, Continuous Improvement Process) refers to continually improving on your products, services or processes, with competitive benefits […]

Carol Yang

You may have noticed that many businesses around the world have continuous-improvement programmes in place.  If you don’t yet know, you may well be asking: What, exactly, is continuous improvement?

By definition, continuous improvement (often referred to as CIP, Continuous Improvement Process) refers to continually improving on your products, services or processes, with competitive benefits being either incremental (over time) or occurring in one major shift (“breakthrough”).  It rests on the Japanese concept of kaizen (kai, meaning change, plus zen, meaning good = improvement).

Since the 80s, when Masaaki Imai’s book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, was published in the States, the concept of CIP has been used in organisations to evaluate their processes, so they can keep improving their offerings and efficiency, and thus stay competitive.  The same business philosophy can actually be applied to all areas of life as a process for personal improvement.

How continuous improvement helps in personal finance

In the world of personal finance, the concept is used to help people improve on their financial knowledge, so they can improve their credit and generally take better control of their finances.  We should all be aiming to continuously develop our approach to personal finance, so we can change for the better – i.e. improve in money matters.

While continuous improvement may stem from a philosophy, it requires concrete action.  You can’t just think about improving, you have to actually do things to get there.  Bear in mind that this is a continuous process.  If you commit to the idea that we are all life-long learners, it makes committing to continuous improvement that much easier.

Of course, it’s good to know where to start.  Begin by asking yourself some honest questions:

• Where are your financial blind spots?

• Which money topics fill you with anxiety, and the fear of the unknown?

• How can your financial processes be improved?

The answers to these questions can help you set goals, and decide on action steps to reach them.

Money talk can be intimidating

If your money acumen is a little sketchy, setting goals and action steps may seem daunting.  This is where attending financial workshops can be really helpful.

Unlike lectures, where you just listen to someone talk (and try not to doze off or daydream), workshops are interactive.  They include practical exercises to help you interrogate your attitudes and actions around money, and are facilitated by experts in the field.  There’s also great benefit to working in a group, rather than on your own.  When a group of people come together for a workshop, they share experiences and knowledge, brainstorm ideas and crowd-source possible solutions.

For these reasons, women wanting to continuously improve in the area of personal finance should keep an eye on financial workshop listings. Identify your knowledge gaps, and then sign up for the most suitable workshop to take that first step in the process of continual improvement.

If you are interested in continuous financial improvement, our first workshop of 2016 will kick off in Melbourne later this month – sign up here!

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