Why Continual Improvement is our value

I saw a great quote the other day. I am not sure if it was an original or who wrote it but it was very very good.

“Average players want to hear how good they are. Great players want to hear how they can keep getting better.”

We all like to receive recognition for our efforts. It is very important for the morale and culture of an organisation to celebrate its successes. How we use or internalise that feedback is another matter. If or when we start to believe that we have “arrived”, then we are probably heading for a major disappointment or wake-up call in the very near future. A win or recognition should be the fuel or additional impetus to confirm that we are starting to head in the right direction and the motivation to take our performance to the next level.

To put it more strongly, there is no “arrival” point, no nirvana where we are perfect, unassailable and can get no better. And if we ever believe that is the case, then we are on the start of a downhill slide to nowhere.

In the wine business – and many other others by the way – there is a tendency to believe that once a certain level of performance or excellence has been reached, then “that’s it”, there is no further improvement possible or possible. This is the “law of the invisible ceiling.” If we believe that it is true, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Everyone is keen to tell you where your limitations will be – this helps preserve their position in the market and provides a natural self-fulfilling alibi to maintain the status-quo. And consequently, it self  justifies their unwillingness to improve their current performance.

When we started operations at Paradise Rescued, everyone was quick to tell us how our Bordeaux ‘terroir’ wouldn’t amount to very much, that organic viticulture was just a passing trend and would quickly disappear plus the idea of sustainability mission was a nonsense, let alone a full varietal Cabernet Franc! Heaven forbid.

Twelve years on with a best-selling and unique certified organic B1ockOne Bordeaux Cabernet Franc with several different vintage medals to its credit, including a 96 point Double Gold medal for the 2015 vintage, the story plus brand continues to grow. We are naturally proud of what our team has achieved. However, we are not nor will ever be content to sit back and just enjoy the journey. Now is the perfect moment to move forward.

It’s called continual improvement, known simply in many parts of general industry as CI. Continual Improvement is no simple magic wand or specific programme. It is our business value and a recognition that no matter how well we did yesterday, we can / will still do better tomorrow. And whilst part of our mission is to “produce (the best possible) fine organic Bordeaux wine”, there is a lot more to do (and improve) to achieve the other part of our mission – namely to make our business sustainable. And we don’t just mean the current green definition of sustainability – that’s a whole extra blog for another time.

Quite simply, we know that if we are not stepping forward, then we will slip backwards. CI is not a feel-good option; it is a business value. It is much more than “quality management”. It includes effectiveness, efficiency, customer service, resources, waste elimination and better business management across the full cycle of our three key business pillars – Vineyard  Winery  Market. We have a whole summer of work and improvements ahead.

Every (wine) business always has something it can do better to sustain / develop its future. It doesn’t require a big management programme or complex system. It starts with a culture and commitment to make the future better. More of that and our Vision 2030 to follow in our next blog.

At Paradise Rescued, continual improvement is our value. Plenty more passionate work to do.