“CANI,” an acronym coined by Tony Robbins that stands for “Constant And Never-ending Improvement,” is more than just a saying, but a mantra to live by.
Throughout the years, we have seen various self-help gurus and motivational speakers explain some form of this constant improvement method in their own ways. Today, I wish to discuss why adopting this mindset can only be beneficial to your business and, well, life in general!
The harsh truth is, most people only pursue their dreams until they find a place where they can be comfortable or tolerate their own livelihood. Few people rarely ever go the extra mile to become the best of the best in whatever craft or interest that they pursue.
Ultimately, failing to live by the mindset of constant improvement leaves people to tolerate less than they are worth. In terms of business, organizations that don’t make a constant effort to adapt and improve during changing times will find themselves to become irrelevant and non-competitive.
This is why it is so important to recognize the value of altering your mindset from one of “good enough” to one of optimization.
Focusing on optimization and avoiding settling for less is what makes good decisions. Stephen Covey said in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, that thinking win-win is a result of optimized thinking. I think we can all agree that win-win scenarios are great for business and developing trusting relationships.
Today, We’re going to dive into some of the benefits of living by the code of constant improvement! And how you can take this mindset and translate it into great wins for your organization!
Benefit 1: Increased Productivity
Focusing on improvement means you free yourself to discover and make use of the best practices within your organization. Put simply, you don’t become tied to traditional procedures, systems, or practices that no longer provide you much value for the sake of tradition.
Increased team productivity occurs because you believe in shifting team functions based on results. Believing in constant improvement allows you the open-mindedness to consider alternate, and optimized, solutions to issues that you may experience!
Benefit 2: Lower Costs
Unless you believe that you’ve perfectly optimized your business production capabilities and optimized your potential (which is rare), believing in CANI can help you lower costs.
It’s simple, the will to improve is what causes certain businesses to succeed over others, and constantly searching for ways to provide value, lower costs, and do more for less is what keeps a business competitive and relevant.
Although CANI doesn’t directly relate to cost reduction, it’s the mindset that it employs in the minds of business leaders that make the difference between an optimized and a tolerable organization.
Benefit 3: Improved Quality of Service/Product
You probably saw this one coming. Along the same vein as productivity and cost, quality is also improved due to a person’s willingness to optimize and endlessly improve.
Most businesses don’t start off as successful as they become when they focus on improvement. Apple Co., for example, started off in a garage. It took constant and endless improvement for them to grow the way that they have.
Improving the quality of your product or service is never bad for business. After all, the consumer’s experience with your product or service is going to dictate your unique brand positioning, referrals, and brand recognition.
Benefit 4: Improved Employee Experience
Who said that CANI could only benefit the consumers?! The truth is, the CANI mindset benefits the internal functionality and satisfaction of employees as well!
Organizational leaders who employ the CANI mindset often try to make things easier and more enjoyable for their teams. This usually translates to trust among team members and the considerations of the leader with the team in mind.
This improved employee experience will cause consequentially higher productivity, lower turnover rates, and improved morale. All of which translates into a better experience for the consumer as well due to the trickle-down nature of performance.
How to Think “CANI”
Here are some tips that you can use to alter your mindset and think in terms of constant improvement!
Tip 1: Focus on What You Can Control.
There is no point in wasting your time or energy trying to change things that you have no control over. This is debilitating and causes you to make the mistaken judgment that you are a victim of circumstance, when in reality, the issue is a matter of focus.
Focusing on what you can control benefits you by causing you to accept the way things are, and yet make use of the power you have to change your circumstances.
Tip 2: Don’t Believe in Failure.
There are no failures, only learning experiences. Believing in failure consequently results in those failures becoming reality. This is because believing that you are a “failure” causes you to lack the willpower to learn and try again.
Those who reject failure and consider those moments to be learning experiences willfully realize that the only true failure is giving up. Therefore, it goes to reason that if you don’t give up, you don’t fail!
The most successful people in the world failed hundreds, even thousands, of times before they began to become successful. And based on the subjective measure of “success” in the first place, those people can often be seen “failing” even today by some means! Failure isn’t real unless you believe it is.
Tip 3: Be Open-Minded.
Closed-minded people become stuck in meaningless tradition. That is to say, they fail to recognize the inherent benefits of improvement if it means they must do something different than what they’ve always done.
The most expensive words in business are, “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” and it’s true. Failing to be open-minded is the single most effective block of the CANI mindset.
Not to mention that closed-minded people tend to fail to listen to their team’s ideas, disregard their team’s suggestions, and ultimately degrade the trust they have with others.
All you have to do is tactfully question whether what you are doing is really the best way to do it, and listen to others who may have different or varying opinions.
Tip 4: Focus on Small Steps, Not Huge Strides.
One of the less predictable tips on here is to focus on the small steps and not on the huge strides that you are making to improve. But the question is…Why?
Small steps are inherently more consistent than large strides are. This is why people who make the new-years resolution to get in shape and immediately start hitting the gym 6 times a week will end up quitting after the first month. They burnt themselves out.
Taking small steps avoids burnout despite your burning motivations. By holding yourself back a little bit, you can actually become more consistent when pursuing improvement than if you tried to do everything at once in an unrealistic way.
Develop the habit of improvement first, then improve by adding more in the way you see fit. Doing so will keep you far more consistent over time.
Ultimately, making CANI an integral part of your mindset and workplace culture can only benefit your organization. These benefits will start internally throughout your teams and interpersonal relationships and begin to trickle out of your business into your consumer experience.
Remember, although you don’t need to hit the ground running, finding small but meaningful ways to incorporate the idea of constant improvement is necessary for your business to remain competitive and relevant.
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.