How to Succeed During Your First 90 Days as a CI Manager

career advice focused improvement opex strategy people development Apr 26, 2024
How to Succeed During Your First 90 Days as a CI Manager

Understanding Managerial Goals:

  • Alignment with Higher Management Goals: Establish a clear understanding of the overarching objectives set by top-level management, such as plant managers and operational directors. This entails comprehending the strategic direction of the organization and how continuous improvement initiatives contribute to those goals.
  • Grasping Expectations: Delve into the specific expectations for the first year in the role, as well as the immediate priorities for the initial 60-90 days. This involves understanding key performance indicators (KPIs), targets, and areas of focus outlined by senior leadership.


Building Relationships:

  • Cultivating Connections: Actively foster relationships with colleagues across various departments and organizational levels. This includes both formal interactions, such as scheduled meetings, and informal engagements, such as coffee chats or hallway conversations.
  • Navigating the Transition: Transitioning from a team member to a managerial role requires adept navigation of interpersonal dynamics. Establishing credibility, trust, and rapport with former peers while asserting authority and leadership is essential.


Leadership Dynamics:

  • Leading without Direct Authority: As a CI manager, lead improvement projects and teams without the traditional hierarchical authority associated with managerial roles. This necessitates employing influential leadership tactics, persuasion, and consensus-building to drive change and garner support.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Strong interpersonal skills are paramount for effective leadership in a CI role. This includes active listening, effective communication, empathy, and conflict resolution abilities to navigate diverse team dynamics and stakeholder relationships.
  • You can assess your leadership skills here:


Time Management:

  • Balanced Allocation of Time: Allocate time strategically between predefined goals and ad-hoc tasks. While focusing on achieving established objectives is crucial, dedicating sufficient time to relationship-building efforts, especially in the initial 30 to 60 days, is equally important.
  • Prioritizing Relationship-Building: Recognize the significance of relationship-building efforts alongside project management responsibilities. Investing time in building rapport and fostering collaborative partnerships can yield long-term benefits for successful CI implementation.


Assessing Organizational Capabilities:

  • Performance Evaluation: Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the organization's current performance in continuous improvement initiatives. This involves assessing key metrics, such as productivity, quality, and efficiency, to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
  • Balance Between Performance and Capability: Gauge the balance between performance management and capability building within the organization. Determine whether the focus is primarily on achieving short-term results or fostering long-term capabilities for sustainable improvement.
  • You can evaluate your teams capabilities here:
  • You can do a survey to gather feedback from your employees here:


Adapting Communication:

  • Enhancing Communication Flow: Identify opportunities to enhance communication flow, particularly within CI management structures. Improving transparency, clarity, and effectiveness of communication channels can facilitate smoother collaboration and alignment of goals.
  • Utilizing Improved Communication: Leverage enhanced communication channels to build goodwill and trust among stakeholders. Establishing open lines of communication fosters a supportive environment conducive to collaborative problem-solving and continuous improvement efforts.


Long-Term Strategy:

  • Focus on Building Role for Long-Term Success: Adopt a strategic approach focused on building the CI management role for long-term success. Emphasize the importance of guiding and supporting continuous improvement initiatives over chasing immediate financial results.
  • Emphasis on Guiding and Supporting: Prioritize guiding and supporting improvement efforts over demonstrating immediate financial gains. Recognize that the success of CI initiatives often hinges on the gradual development of capabilities, processes, and organizational culture conducive to sustained improvement.




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