Improvement initiatives may help an organization improve, but rarely do they provide a competitive advantage, says Michael Bremer, co-author with Brian McKibben of "Escape the Improvement Trap: Five Ingredients Missing in Most Improvement Recipes."
That's because the competition is likely implementing the same methodology. "From a competitive scene nothing much has changed because everybody goes about getting better in pretty much the same way," he says. The end result is that most companies are merely average, he says. And that's the trap. In their book the authors outline five characteristics they say the most effective companies display, yet which are either missing or significantly underused in most firms' improvement programs. The characteristics are: