Improvement Basics: The Improvement Leader Network

Where lasting improvements are achieved, it is due to collaboration across organisational levels, functions and work teams. 

The outcome of this collaboration is an (often informal) internal improvement leader network which both delivers the improvement agenda and shapes the conversations that drive behaviours. 

This often overlooked aspect, is an essential foundation for the creation of a proactive improvement culture on the journey to industry leading performance.

"No useful improvement was ever achieved by a lone individual."

Consider this:

  • Even if a Chief Executive has a great idea, implementing it will need the involvement of other personnel to make it happen.

If we take the other extreme

  • at a shop floor level, if an operator or engineer has a great improvement idea, even the most simple change will need the support and buy in of other personnel, shifts, team leaders, managers etc.  

The Improvement Leader Roles

The table below sets out how multiple roles become improvement leaders when they engage with a common improvement agenda to deliver goals such as

    • Breaking out of reactive maintenance
    • Scaling up for growth
    • Raising Standards
    • Step out performance



Business sponsor

Set improvement goals and priorities and accountabilities for delivering them.  Allocate/approve resources as required.

Change Agent/

CI Manager

Guide the business sponsor in setting goals, priorities and action plans to deliver those goals. 

First Line Leader

Identify a small team of front line personnel to develop the project trouble map and work on the improvement process

Cross functional team

Follow the improvement process to develop a deeper understanding of the issues, implement and refine solutions

Subject Matter Experts and Trainers

Standardise and systemise new areas of best practice.


Integrate the improvement activities as part of the routine work plan

Support functions

Provide input and expertise to guide the team towards its goals

Figure 1: Improvement Leader Roles

Practical Improvement Leader Training

Although individual training works well for simple task based skills, such as software tools or safe working practices, it isn't the best approach to developing Improvement leader capability. 

Here, the application of lessons learned is something that can only be achieved effectively in collaboration with others in the work environment.

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Or for more information about how we can help your organisation to develop its improvement leaders contact us for an informal discussion.