I’m a continuous improver AND a beauty pageant winner (and loser). I cannot ignore the parallels between two of my favorite things – making ugly processes better and walking on-stage in 5″ high heels and a swimsuit. Stay with me here….

Lesson 1 of 3 –> Butt Glue: Making it Stick

The months leading up to a beauty pageant are intense. You hit the gym nearly every day and stick to a nutrition plan that does NOT include chocolate chip cookie dough, chips & salsa or red wine (also known as my favorite foods). By pageant day, you have already done the hard work. So the absolute last thing you do before hitting the stage in the fitness competition is glue your swimsuit to your backside. Yep, we all do it…with roll-on toupee glue. After months of hard work, the absolute last thing you want to happen is a wardrobe malfunction.

The same goes for continuous improvement projects. You’ve spent months growing your team and testing solutions. On implementation day, you want to “make it stick” (pun intended). If you want a sustainable continuous improvement culture, you need to sustain your project gains.

The Lesson? Don’t ignore your Sustainment Plan. Months of hard work can be flushed down the drain if you walk away from your project (and onto the stage) too soon.

Before you Go Live, ask yourself “How will I sustain the gains?” and “How do I ensure that the process doesn’t revert back to the way it was before?”