How to cultivate a continuous improvement mindset

Richard Phillips Jr.

Richard Phillips Jr., CEO, Pilot Freight Services

Many businesses aspire to maintain a culture of continuous improvement. Whatever happened yesterday isn’t good enough for tomorrow, because tomorrow is an opportunity to do it even better. But as a leader, do you really understand how to foster a mindset of continual improvement within your business? Can you push the right buttons and challenge your managers and employees to strive for better efficiency, more creative solutions and new ideas that can impact not just your company but your entire industry?

Over the past year, Smart Business Philadelphia has spoken with numerous leaders about how they push their people to achieve great things on a daily basis. Below, three area business leaders weigh in with their thoughts.

“You walk in every day and say to your employees, ‘I want us to be better and better.’ I’ve been here a long time, and I come to work every day trying to think of ways that we can better this business today. What can we do differently? What new thing can we try? How can we enhance what we do?”

Bill Whitmore, chairman, president and CEO, AlliedBarton Security Services LLC

“The growth aspiration is the answer to the question of what it is you want to be. What are you holding the organization accountable for? If you don’t set that, you will get to wherever your product takes you, but that might not necessarily be the aspiration you have for the company or the employees.”

Robert Bazemore, president, Janssen Biotech Inc.

“It really is about starting out with those simple, boring questions — ‘Who are we?’ and ‘What do we do well?’ and ‘Why are we different from the competition?’ It could be asking questions of management, such as ‘Why are you here and not working for the competition? What makes us different?’ If you ask those simple questions, you’ll be amazed at the debates that ensue among the management team.

Richard Phillips Jr., CEO, Pilot Freight Services


Think about how to get better each day.

Figure out what you want to be as a company.

Know your company’s separators.