Continuous improvement poses a huge problem for perfectionists because it means admitting and accepting imperfections.
It is however only with accepting that perfection is an illusion, that it becomes easier to shift the focus from perfection to progress.
Continuous improvement also waves red flags for those uncomfortable with change as it demands adaptation in the name of desired advances.
There is some comfort when the word "continuous" is swapped for "continual" which, according to the ever-clever Wikipedia is more technically accurate.
"In English-language linguistic prescription there is a common piece of usage advice that the word "continuous" should be used for things that are continuous in a way literally or figuratively equal to the mathematical sense of the word, whereas the word "continual" should be used for things that continue in discrete jumps (that is, quantum-wise). When this distinction is enforced, it is more accurate to speak of "continual improvement" and "continual improvement processes" than of "continuous improvement" or "continuous improvement processes"."
My understanding of this distinction is that never-ending improvement attempts result in intermittent improvement results. From a change perspective there is therefore some time to get used to an improved result, but not much, as the concept of continuous improvement implies an implicit discomfort with the status quo, which is usually a trait shared by perfectionists.
Call it a drive for perfection, or striving for continual improvement is a matter of semantics. What matters is that the energy invested in shaping up areas of improvement is focused on areas that will return tangible results.
For us, these areas are grouped under the four principles of our methodology:
We've recently changed news monitoring service providers for various reasons, one of which was an integration of social media results with traditional media results and a larger spread of online platforms that is monitored.
We also make a concerted effort to keep our ears to the ground for news relevant to our clients' focus areas, as well as the industries they serve.
Through listening we learn an incredible amount, and part of the learning is taking the information that is available and translating it into terms that can be easily understood by those that are unfamiliar with the more technical concepts of the subject matter.
We also continuously learn about our own industry and craft, and recently attended a fantastic writing workshop which highlighted a number of areas of improvement relating to the content we create.
We will also be attending the Integrated Marketing Conference in November to enable us to determine which skills we should add to our toolbox. According to what we've learned so far, video will surpass text in the very near future, while producing mobile-friendly content is already of extreme importance.
More information clutter, more PR practitioners, and less eyes available to receive and read content contributions demand that any messages created by brands for distribution to media stick very closely to individual newsroom guidelines and requirements.
Content that delivers lightning-fast, in-depth comment on current affairs remain popular, followed by easy-to-read pieces offering practical advice on issues that impact readers and listeners on a regular basis.
Thought leadership pieces are still used, but are reserved for specific features and editions, and therefore do not generate a large amount of publicity ... except of course when on a very controversial issue.
Distribution tactics for each of these type of pieces vary quite a bit, and we're pleased to report that we are seeing success from changes we've recently implemented in both our creation and distribution focus areas.
The size decline, juniorisation and resource sharing of newsrooms has forced us to move away from traditionally accepted mass distribution tactics. Exclusive pieces, personal relationships with a large number of journalists and producers, and availability that nears the 24/7 range are the areas that currently deliver the most success.
Despite the advances in technology (or maybe because of it) the PR cycle has slowed down a bit, as more time has to be spent on the human side of content distribution, rather than the technology side as has been the norm over the past decade.
An integrated Paid-Earned-Shared-Owned (PESO) distribution strategy is sure to produce the best outcomes aligned with business objectives, rather than creating and distributing content solely for the sake of for example media only. Content marketing and repurposing keeps content alive for longer, and allows your customers to find it on a platform they feel most comfortable with.