Progression and continuous improvement

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

Both words are commonly used in our workplace nowadays. Everyone wishes for some form of progression and every management strive for continuous improvements (especially in the sales figure). It’s rather common as individual’s goal and organisation’s goal.

From another perspective, progression and continuous improvement can be related with some areas of your life in general. The way you are living and learning from your experiences to be a perceivably better person based on the individual’s values and circumstances.

Progression and improvement could be understand as a cycle which consists of the following:

  1. Awareness — Knowing what you don’t know.
  2. Curiosity — Having an urge to find out more about what you don’t know.
  3. Willingness — Being willing to let go your assumption and learn / replace your existing understanding with the latest and most accurate knowledge.
  4. Growth Mindset — Being confident that with hard work and perseverance, you’ll be able to learn and be better as you go along.
  5. Reflection — Think about your learning process: what had gone well and what hadn’t, how can you improve it the next time.
  6. Repeat from 1.

Some might ask whether it is worth it for us to want to progress and improve, especially when there is little or no incentives to do so in the place first. This is a common scenario that I have heard from many friends and colleagues from all walks of life: I’ve been the one working so hard, covering for my teammates who made a mess. Really don’t understand why they can’t improve and learn what they need to know. It’s really not that difficult. The typical reply is: Would they get additional pay or compensation if they were to do better?

Each one of us is different in our own ways. The motivations can be grouped in two distinct categories: internal and external. Internal motivations are usually curiosity, personal satisfaction and fulfilment and personal interest. These are internally driven which gives one the energy required to overcome the inertia of embarking in the self-improvement and learning journey.

External motivations, on the other hand, are driven by expectation of some form of return such as career progression, promotion, performance (usually associated with increased renumeration). and building better portfolio by gaining exposure and experiences.

At least in my own opinion, no one is better than the other. Life is very short and all of us have limited time. A simple litmus test of whether it is worth it could be as follows:

  • Would you regret not trying at a later point in your life?
  • Would you regret the time and resources spent trying which could have been invested on something else at that point in your life?

Perhaps, focusing on the journey and process could help you enjoy the nuance of learning and improving more so than focusing solely on the outcome. What do you think?




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