Better Every Day – The Mantra For Continual Improvement

A personal and organisational trait of continual improvement is one of the essential foundations for achievement, competitiveness and success. ‘Better Every Day’ is a mantra worth adopting and instilling in all that you do, including leadership.


Active Knowledge Question:

How do you instil improvement as a daily reality in your life and the business you lead?


Meet or Beat

The words still echo when I think about the mantra ‘better every day’; ‘Can’t you just do it the same way as everyone else does, the same way we have always done it’.

There are many reasons why people, and more so organisations, like to do things the same way as yesterday. Consistency can build efficiency, it allows processes to be established and followed, it supports induction and learning and enables command and control.

I am a great believer in building routines and locking them away as habits as it preserves willpower for other challenges and locks in patterns that support achievement. Compounding is also an important consideration as repetition builds momentum, and the domino effect can escalate outcomes beyond your wildest dreams.

But there is a ‘BUT’. Nothing in his world is static, it is either evolving and growing, or it is stagnant and dying.

Seeking to ensure yesterday is repeat day after day will only result in you and your organisation being left behind while everyone else moves forward. And often the real intent of ‘repeating yesterday’ is to preserve someone’s individual position and power or just being afraid of change.

In physical training, the rule of ‘meet or beat’ is a great one. No matter how good a day you are having, you will meet or better still beat what you did yesterday. As an absolute minimum, I will hold my position but really what I want is to do better, even just a fraction better.

I see this expression of ‘meet or beat’ as representing a leaning-in so that your momentum is always forward. In everything you do and everything your organisation does, you want everyone leaning forward. Adopting the way things are presently done but seeking to make them that little bit better every day, seeking improvement and open to great leaps forward that represent significant change and improvement.

Seeding The Culture

Better every day is a culture, a trait, a way of life. It’s not about being dissatisfied with yesterday or the way things are presently done, but it’s seeking to keep moving forward.

As a cultural trait, it starts with leadership and the words they use and the example they set. It then flows through to processes and the way the organisation operates and is reinforced through the reward system.

If the competitive engine within your business is your focus, then each of its elements will embed ‘better every day’ throughout every aspect of your business’s life:

  • Purpose: Your business exists for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of its customers and delivering the greatest possible value it can to them. Everyone’s focus is drawn to the customers’ needs, and the value delivered and therefore doing better becomes their daily task, a task in which they may take pride.
  • Motive: More profit is not a prime motive nor driver and therefore self-interest, greed and politics are not seeded nor tolerated. Profit is seen as an outcome of delivering more value to customers.
  • Leadership: Leadership is not about authority but responsibility and uplifting everyone around them so that they can work at their best.
  • Relationships: Relationships, and especially those with employees, are founded in trust. A trust that their interests and welfare are at the forefront and a recognition that the competitive strength of a business lies in the combined energy and talent of everyone who works within and with a business.
  • Vision: A quest is set for the business; it is its vision, to which everyone is drawn and in which they give their utmost.
  • Culture: Is an outworking of leadership and everything they stand for. Culture should underpin the competitiveness of a business.
  • Customer Focus: This focus exists where the customer need sits at the centre of all decision-making, and all actions are assessed against how they will impact the value that is delivered to customers.
  • Capabilities: Capabilities are where ‘better every day’ can really bite and impact performance. No matter how good you believe your business is, you are always looking for ways to step further ahead. 
  • Strategy: reflects the positioning of the business to bring its strengths to the forefront to outcompete all others. It’s dynamic and constantly evolving.
  • Barriers: are self-imposed impediments that block potential and are removed whenever they emerge.
  • Rewards: are the fuel and are equally available to all for their efforts and uplift the good and block the bad.

There is a significant difference between a business that pursues profit and a business that pursues a righteous purpose, a purpose in which everyone can take pride in fulfilling. Profit is like oxygen, a business cannot exist without it, but it does not live simply to breathe. A business that pursues a profit-first motive will struggle to achieve a ‘better every day’ culture as its motive will only seed self-interest, short-termism and politics. Its motive only disperses and neutralises the competitiveness of a business.

If you are challenged in getting a culture of ‘better every day’ established in your business, then look to purpose, motive and of course leadership, and in these, you will discover the barriers that need to be removed to enable success.


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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel