Continuous self-improvement: systems thinking in a personal context

Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 2000 Feb;26(2):74-86. doi: 10.1016/s1070-3241(00)26006-9.


Background: Continuous quality improvement (CQI) thinking and tools have broad applicability to improving people's lives--in continuous self-improvement (CSI). Examples include weight loss, weight gain, increasing exercise time, and improving relationship with spouse. In addition, change agents, who support and facilitate organizational efforts, can use CSI to help employees understand steps in CQI. A STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH: Team members should be involved in both the definition of the problem and the search for the solution. How do everyday processes and routines affect the habit that needs to change? What are the precursors of the event? Clients list possible solutions, prioritize them, and pilot test the items selected. One needs to change the daily routines until the desired behavior is accomplished habitually and with little external decision.

Discussion: CSI is successful because of its emphasis on habits embedded in personal processes. CSI organizes support from process owners, buddies, and coaches, and encourages regular measurement, multiple small improvement cycles, and public reporting.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Total Quality Management / methods*
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss