Kaizen, the Art of Constant Improvement

Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning simply “change for better.”

Kai = Change. Zen = Good.

Focusing on incremental, consistent progress (a key tenant of Kaizen) is the cornerstone philosophy that made Toyota a Titan of the auto industry. By meeting with small teams regularly to identity, analyze, and solve problems Toyota was able to focus on the processes to ensure they produced their desired end result.

By analyzing the process and making constant incremental changes they improved the total quality of work. By improving the total quality of work they improved the end product.

Although the Kaizen method is specific to business management, their is a lot we can glean from these ideas to improve our physical, relational, mental, and spiritual selves.

The 10 principles of Kaizen is a list I like to look through to see where I can make improvements, question the processes, and to remind myself that “Improvement has no limits. Never stop trying to improve.”

10 Principles of Kaizen
The Kaizen method follows ten specific principles, which are described below:
1. Improve everything continuously.
2. Abolish old, traditional concepts.
3. Accept no excuses and make things happen.
4. Say no to the status quo of implementing new methods and assuming they will work.
5. If something is wrong, correct it.
6. Empower everyone to take part in problem solving.
7. Get information and opinions from multiple people.
8. Before making decisions, ask “why” five times to get to the root cause. (5 Why Method)
9. Be economical. Save money through small improvements and spend the saved money on further improvements.
10. Remember that improvement has no limits. Never stop trying to improve.

Let me know what inspiration sparks in you from the art of Kaizen! Or how you already use Kaizen principles to better your life.

Shoot me a message if there are areas you are struggling in, areas where you recognize implementing the art of constant improvement might benefit you.