Continuous Improvement: 3 Tips for Personal Growth
Continuous improvement is a simple ideology that is essentially summed up with the thought that everything should always be getting better. Incase you haven’t noticed, this is contradictive to the way the world works; things just don’t get better on their own. It takes work, often in huge amounts to get things to be better.
The first place you can look to improve is with yourself. A good improvement process is useless if you just sabotage it with your shortcomings. Take a step back and look at how the things you do affect the people around you and the situations that arise within your company. Make note of the negative ones so that you can improve on them.
Try to be continually mindful of those things that have negative effects, so that you can, in the very least, correct them quickly when they happen. Strive to catch your shortcomings before they happen. Try to have everyone on your team do this, and you’ll start to see things run more smoothly.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but most developers ignore it. To make things clear: doing your day to day job is not training. It does not make you continually improve. That said, I am basing that on the assumption that your job is not changing frequently, because if that is the case then, yes, you can grow from that. But in most cases, that isn’t happening.
Many respectable companies have budgets for training materials for their workers. You can buy books, attend college/university classes, and go to conferences that relate to your area of interest. The company I work for has always been good about providing training for employees – assuming they ask.
Asking for the training is more important than you might think. Asking shows that you want it; that you want to improve in a particular area of your job. This brings value to your company, so it is easy for them to justify spending money on training for you.
If you have no interest in training, you probably won’t get anything from it. That’s the biggest reason why a bit of passion for improvement will go a long way. I am constantly asking for books and training courses at work. Over the past two years, I’ve purchased more books than I’ve had the chance to read. They cover a number of different languages, and development practices. These get turned into a little library for my team that anyone can read when they want to.
We’ve also implemented a training program that uses some online video tutorial websites to train nearly everyone in the company. People are given quarterly bonuses based on how they perform with the training exercises. This method doesn’t fully jive with giving training to those who have passion, but it is a good way we can give people bonuses, so in the end I think everyone is happy.
To sum things up, be passionate about being better. Focus on it, give it your attention, and put your energy into it and it will happen.