Saturday, October 02, 2010

Curious about Improvement: So Important in Our Lives, Relationships, and Businesses. What Do You Do to Improve?

Definition of Improvement: The act of improving; advancement or growth; promotion in desirable qualities; progress toward what is better. The act of making profitable use or applicaton of anything, or the state of being profitably employed; a turning to good account; practical application, as of a doctrine, principle, or theory, stated in a discourse. Increase; growth; progress; advance.

The thing is, continuity of strategic direction and continuous improvement in how you do things are absolutely consistent with each other. In fact, they're mutually reinforcing.” –
Michael Porter, American educator

I have been listening to a CD by one of my all-time favorite speakers – Zig Ziglar. On it, he describes the importance of making your car a learning university. I second that. He says that the biggest room we have is the room for improvement. How true, and how exciting, too. I know that my life is filled with learning how to improve continuously. It helps us, our lives, our relationships, and our careers.

Nowadays, with the Internet and easily available interaction with the world, we can access information about any subject we choose. My only warning – and especially for me, too – is not to overdo and become both overwhelmed, scattered, and unfocused. The opportunities and programs abound and are all tempting. I have found that if I rein myself in and focus on one area at a time, I can really experience improvement and noticeable change.

As usual, I found a plethora of interesting quotations about improvement:
  • A collection of good books, with a soul to it in the shape of a librarian, becomes a vitalized power among the impulses by which the world goes on to improvement.” - Justin Winsor, American writer
  • All this improvement is great, but all that does is get us in the game to play for improvements that we need in the future, so that we can be aggressive in the marketplace.” - Rick Wagoner, American businessman
  • We assume that everything's becoming more efficient, and in an immediate sense that's true; our lives are better in many ways. But that improvement has been gained through a massively inefficient use of natural resources.” - Paul Hawken, American environmentalist
  • Change is vital, improvement is the logical form of change.” - James Cash Penney, American businessman
  • Doubt, the essential preliminary of all improvement and discovery, must accompany the stages of man's onward progress. The faculty of doubting and questioning, without which those of comparison and judgment would be useless, is itself a divine prerogative of the reason.” - Albert Pike, American lawyer
  • Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties.” - Hugh Blair, Scottish theologian
  • Excellent firms don't believe in excellence - only in constant improvement and constant change.” - Tom Peters, American businessman

And some more:

  • We need improvement in the style of performance. There is no more advantage in a musician who plays and conducts than in one who is only a beater of rhythm.” - Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer
  • For many years, I have lived uncomfortably with the belief that most planning and architectural design suffers for lack of real and basic purpose. The ultimate purpose, it seems to me, must be the improvement of mankind.” - James Rouse, American businessman
  • For me, there is a lot of room for improvement and there are a lot of things I would like to be better at.” - Geddy Lee, Canadian musician
  • He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own nature... is less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life.” - Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss philosopher
  • Resolutions are popular because everyone feels they could use a little improvement.” – Marilu Henner, American actress
  • Spend some time this weekend on home improvement; improve your attitude toward your family.” - Bo Bennett, American businessman
  • Human improvement is from within outward.” - James Anthony Froude, English historian

Two more that I especially love:

Improvement begins with I.” - Arnold H. Glasow, American journalist

Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” - Kim Collins, St. Kittsian athlete

Tell me what do you do to improve? I know that you are a lifetime learner. Do you have a university in your car? I would love to hear from you.