Change for the better is so important, but change also scares you. So the status quo remains. This means your life issues remain the same. It seems impossible to break a mountain. Then the Kaizen technique tells that a mountain can be brought down even with a hammer every day.
We all want to change, but it is also sitting in some corner of our mind that changes are very difficult, they need strong willpower. In such a situation, if it is said that even big changes can happen easily, then you might not believe it. Trust me, it is possible with the Kaizen technique.
What is Kaizen?
This word of the Japanese language is made from Kai and Zen. Kai means change and Zen means Better. That is, kaizen means: change for the better.
Although it is part of business terminology, it can be used well in personal life as well. In fact, Kaizen makes all our fears and doubts about change clear. It tells us that it is not necessary to put all your strength and time to bring about a big change. Not only this, even small changes can be effective.
Kaizen is a Japanese term that translates to “continuous improvement” or “change for the better.” It is a philosophy and approach that emphasizes making small, incremental changes or improvements over time to achieve long-term growth and success.
Key Aspects of Kaizen
Small Steps: Kaizen focuses on taking small, manageable steps toward improvement. Rather than seeking drastic or revolutionary changes, it encourages making small, continuous improvements that are sustainable and easier to implement.
Continuous Improvement: Kaizen promotes the idea that improvement is an ongoing process. It recognizes that there is always room for improvement, and encourages individuals and organizations to constantly evaluate their practices, processes, and systems to identify areas for enhancement.
Employee Involvement: Kaizen encourages the active involvement and participation of all employees at all levels of an organization. It recognizes that employees are the experts in their own work and encourages them to contribute their ideas and insights to improve processes and solve problems.
Data-Driven Decision-Making: Kaizen emphasizes the use of data and objective information to drive decision-making. It encourages gathering and analyzing data to identify areas of improvement, measure progress, and make informed decisions.
Waste Reduction: Kaizen aims to eliminate waste, inefficiencies, and unnecessary steps in processes. It encourages streamlining processes and optimizing resources to improve productivity and reduce costs.
Standardization and Documentation: Kaizen emphasizes the importance of standardizing processes and documenting best practices. By establishing clear standards and sharing knowledge, organizations can ensure consistency, improve efficiency, and facilitate continuous improvement.
Respect for People: Kaizen values and promotes a culture of respect for individuals. It encourages open communication, collaboration, and teamwork, fostering an environment where people feel valued, empowered, and motivated to contribute their best.
Long-Term Thinking: Kaizen takes a long-term perspective, recognizing that sustainable improvements take time. It encourages patience, persistence, and a commitment to continuous learning and growth.
Kaizen can be applied to various aspects of life, including personal development, relationships, and business processes.
Small Changes Make a Huge Difference
Small changes can make a huge difference. If an arrow is going straight in the front but turns it one degree upwards, then it will hit much higher than where it hit earlier. Perhaps a degree change may seem negligible, but there is a lot of difference at the endpoint.
Doing nothing at all Vs Making small consistent efforts:
(1.00)^365=1.00 vs (1.01)^365=37.7
Often a person is unable to do anything in the process of doing a lot. So do something, a lot will happen automatically. This is what the Kaizen technique explains. If you are not able to do anything in life then start making small changes. Identify your problems and adopt small steps to solve them.
American behavioral scientist Dr. Robert Maurer, who wrote a book based on kaizen, explains this with an example. We all know that sitting for long hours during the day is injurious to health. Due to continuous sitting, physical activities start slowing down.
To avoid this, it is necessary to adopt an active lifestyle. But in today’s era, it is very difficult. Even sweating for hours in the gym does not reduce the damage of sitting continuously afterward.
Dr. Maurer points out that even getting up in the middle of work and taking a short walk makes a big difference. It is a small activity, easy too, but effective. This is Kaizen.
How to Apply Kaizen Technique?
To apply the Kaizen technique effectively, here are some steps you can follow:
Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture that encourages and values continuous improvement. Communicate the importance of Kaizen to all levels of the organization and emphasize that everyone has a role to play in driving positive change.
Set Clear Goals: Identify specific areas for improvement and set clear goals that align with the organization’s objectives. The goals should be measurable, achievable, and time-bound. Ensure that the goals are communicated to all stakeholders involved.
Establish a Kaizen Team: Form a dedicated team responsible for leading and facilitating the Kaizen process. This team can include representatives from different departments or functional areas to ensure a diverse perspective.
Gather Data and Analyze: Collect relevant data and information about the current state of the process or area you want to improve. Analyze the data to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas with the most potential for improvement.
Involve Employees: Engage employees directly involved in the process or area being improved. Encourage them to provide input, ideas, and suggestions for improvement. Actively involve them in problem-solving and decision-making processes.
Plan and Implement Changes: Develop a detailed plan of action for implementing changes. Break down the improvement process into smaller, manageable steps. Implement changes in a systematic and controlled manner, starting with pilot projects or small-scale experiments.
Monitor and Measure: Continuously monitor and measure the results of the implemented changes. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics to assess the impact of the improvements. Regularly review progress and provide feedback to the team.
Standardize and Document: Once successful improvements are identified, document the updated processes and procedures. Standardize the improved practices to ensure consistency and sustainability.
Train and Educate: Provide training and education to employees to enhance their skills and knowledge related to the improved processes. This helps ensure that the changes are effectively adopted and sustained.
Repeat and Iterate: The Kaizen process is ongoing and iterative. Encourage a continuous cycle of improvement by repeating the steps and seeking further enhancements. Regularly evaluate and adjust the improvement efforts based on feedback and results.
Kaizen is not a one-time event but a mindset and approach that should be embedded into the organizational culture. By applying the Kaizen technique consistently, organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement, empower employees, optimize processes, and achieve long-term success.
The Core of the Kaizen Technique
The core of the kaizen Technique is regularity and consistency.
Constant Change: The practical meaning of kaizen is constant change. We dream of radical change, but that too is possible with one small change at a time. For this consistency is necessary.
Consistency: Consistency is difficult. Our mind gets terrified by words like discipline, and commitment. If we are told that we have to exercise daily, then we will immediately come under pressure. Oh, is that so! How will the time manage every day? Will we be able to work so hard? Therefore, the desire for change will start, but the subconscious mind will not allow it to stick to the daily routine.
Small Constant Change: If you are told that you only have to work out for 2 minutes at 7 in the morning, you will happily be ready. The mind will not feel burdened, because 2 minutes can be easily managed. The only condition is that you have to exercise every morning at exactly 7 in the morning.
As the principle of kaizen says, even small changes are beneficial. Above all, a two-minute workout is better than doing nothing.
Secondly, it will develop the habit of exercising. After becoming a habit, it will not be difficult to increase the time gradually.
Thirdly, even though you will exercise for only two minutes at seven o’clock, but for that, you will also have to make a habit of getting up at a fixed time every day and performing routine activities. In this way, the scope of benefits will increase.
Kaizen techniques can be used for everything. Its only motto is Constant Change. It may seem impossible to break a mountain, but now you know that an entire mountain can be broken with one hammer at a time. Remember one thing, what you are not changing, you are choosing.
He is the Founder and CEO of the Training and Counselling Company ‘Brain Soul & You’. He is an NLP Wellness Coach, Life Coach, Brain analyst, and Trainer for Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. For more than 7 years, he delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, mind programming, and motivation. He did his B.tech in IT and later choose to be a successful psychologist. He is helping people in various ways through his counseling and training sessions.