Bureaucracy defends the status quo, long past the time when the quo has lost its status. -- Laurence J. Peter


Have your business performance improvement efforts paid off?

Have your efforts resulted in consistent competitive gains in your marketplace?

Have you been able to consistently gain market share, year after year?

70% of companies respond "No" to similar questions according to annual surveys (McKinsey, Bain, ours and others). Their actual results accomplished are so much less than expected — no quantum-leap competitive bump — that the survey respondents rate the efforts a failure.

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Most of us like to believe we are much better than our competition. We are different! But in all honesty, if you look at your toughest competitor, are you really improving in a significant way, much more effectively than they are?

Usually the answer is NO! Most companies go about the business of improving pretty much the same way their competitors do it. You get better, but so do they, so you're still marking time, trapped in the middle of the pack.

How can you break out of "the improvement trap"? Take these actions...