The ER Strategy: Small Improvements Add Up

Not long ago I wrote about how small improvements can make a big difference. Even just a 1% improvement can make an impact.

And, if you focus on 1% (or more) again and again, over time you will make big improvements that will have a positive impact on your customers, employees, internal processes, and your bottom line. You’ll find ways to save money, make money, develop better ways of doing business and much more.

One of our team members at Shepard Presentations reminded me of an article I wrote a long time ago, and that maybe it was time to revisit the concept. The article she was referring to was written almost 10 years ago and was about the concept I refer to as the ER strategy.

First, a short recap of the concept. Here, ER does not stand for Emergency Room. It has nothing to do with that or any other type of emergency. ER is about adding two letters to describe making something better. The last two letters of better are E and R, which is where the ER strategy comes from.

You can return a call quickER. You can make something safER. You can do something fastER. Remember when McDonald’s used to SupER-size its meals? I think you get it. And sometimes the words don’t have to end in ER. It could be about moRE, which is ER backward.

After rethinking the ER strategy, I love the idea of how small improvements can turn into big game-changers even more. Think of the areas you can do bettER:

  • Returning calls faster
  • Getting to work earlier
  • Staying later to help a colleague or a customer
  • Making your message clearer
  • Creating a better process

There are endless possibilities, but you get the idea.

What I didn’t do last time I wrote about this was describe how to go about implementing ER. We’ll do that now.

Take a look at the process customers and employees go through with your organization. My suggestion is to have a team meeting to brainstorm different ER strategies. Come up with as many as you can. Don’t overthink it. All ideas count, good and bad, large and small. Fill a wall with yellow Post-It notes.

Next, decide which of these ideas have the most potential. Put those ideas into a group. You could have dozens of them. Now, prioritize those and choose the 10 best. These are the “low hanging fruit” that make the most sense to put into action. Assign these ideas to different people and groups. Then, go to work. Make the ideas come to life. Come back a month later and discuss the results. That’s ER in action!

Related: The Show Starts When the Phone Rings