Continuous improvement. Sounds cool. But also like very vague consultancy and Linkedin-group talk.
So I think it should always start with making very clear what 'improved' means.
Does it mean faster? Cheaper? Less defects? More flexible? More compliant? Without knowing this, how can you know that you improved? Let alone how.
And another thing, I think that is important; on what level do you look at improvement?
At the highest level by the profit (margin) of your organization?
At the process level (the performance after executing a few cases)?
At the case level (was that case executed ok? )
At the task level (did the employee executed the step as agreed? )
As a process crazy person I would choose the process level, because it connects tasks, individual cases to the company level.
If your processes keep on screwing up for individual cases, you will finally see it in your profit(margin)
Having said that, I think it all should start with making very clear 'the promise' of each process in your organization. In that way you at least made clear what is 'good'. Doesn't mean everybody starts improving immediately, but at least it is transparent to what they are contributing.
e.a: Pizza's delivered < 30 minutes or problems solved < 24 hours for free, customer leaves building with clear answer, etc.
To make it more transparent and 'real' I should try to set up some monitoring, so that it is possible for everyone to see if cases are on track, what's the status etc.
It's for that that I always use the metaphor of a gps system. First you enter what you think is good (I wanna get to Amsterdam fast) .
Then you start executing your process (the trip) and you can see if you're still on track.
But what's monitoring without a way to act when things aren't going well? Useless. So the most important of course is that the process players are coached to act in the right way. So they should be told about the aspects that make a process perform and their responsibility and authority to act upon that.
And that's probably still the biggest issue: People act upon what they are paid or punished for. If you have a target-focused manager that wants you to meet deadlines for your tasks (you should bake pizza's within 5 minutes, no matter what the taste will be!), you can imagine continuous improvement is just another illusion.
So the most important is to synchronize employee judgement with process goals. It sounds a little artificial, but in the end people need some kind of incentive, because only 2.96 % of all the people is a 'process thinker'.