When should I delete an Improvement?
If you determine that an Improvement will not result in a change, your first instinct may be to simply delete it. However, if the Improvement was meaningful despite resulting in no change, it is prudent to retain that information. Otherwise, what’s to stop another employee down the line presenting the same idea, not realizing that they are merely duplicating a previous effort, and forcing the same analysis to be conducted once more?
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you should only delete improvements that contain sensitive information not relevant to improvement work (ex: it would break a law or company policy) or are otherwise deemed inappropriate from an HR perspective.
You should NEVER delete an Improvement if...
- It's a bad idea
This is an opportunity for additional coaching. People are submitting an idea because they feel that there is a problem; and as a leader, you should help them find a solution to solve that problem. If they originally came up with a bad solution to the problem, rather than deleting the Improvement you should help them find a better solution - or connect them with someone else who can.
- It can't be feasibly done
Sometimes people submit pipe dreams to KaiNexus, and even if you agree that it's a good idea, you can't do anything about it. This is an opportunity to engage with the employee and see if a more practical Improvement can be made. Even if it can't, resolving the Improvement and leaving it in the system ensures a record that the idea was submitted and tells people in the future why it wasn't implemented.
- It's already been done before
When an Improvement is submitted that's already part of your standard operating procedure, a hole in training or communication is identified. Letting someone know that their idea has already been implemented fills that gap, and provides you with the opportunity to share that information with others, too, in case they weren't aware. Leaving the Improvement in KaiNexus rather than deleting it records that the idea came up again and that the employee is engaged in continuous improvement.
- Nothing needs to be done
If someone submits an idea and you REALLY don't think anything needs to be done, you should communicate with that employee in KaiNexus to let them know why. By resolving the Improvement and leaving it in the system, there's a reference Improvement for others who may have the same idea. This should very rarely be the cause for resolving an Improvement as "No Change," as most ideas will have some value to the company.
Benefits of resolving Improvements as "No Change," rather than deleting them:
- If someone else has the same idea, they won't have to resubmit it (and you won't have to keep deleting it).
- The person who submitted the Improvement gets credit for being engaged in continuous improvement, even if the idea isn't implemented.
- You have new opportunities to engage with staff and coach them in identifying opportunities for improvement that will result in a change.
- By responding to Improvements rather than deleting them, employees will see that you value their input, even if you don't agree with it.
- You can track the percentage of ideas that actually result in a change, which is a good measure of the health of your culture of continuous improvement.