Keep the Change with Kaizen - Web Kaizen™

Keep the Change with Kaizen

Path up green hill

Few people enjoy the tumult, upheaval, disarray, conflict and disruption caused by unannounced, unforeseen, dramatic change. Good managers avoid these conditions by incrementally guiding change based on team input to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone.

You could call it the Kaizen Approach.

Kaizen – continuous, incremental improvement – creates big changes but over time, with the participation of everyone on the team. Groups that embrace it avoid the anxiety and errors that come with implementing any new or improved process. The best of these teams work hard at making work easier in some ways, and more rewarding and productive in every way.

Taking small, well-considered steps, observing and measuring results, standardizing successful approaches and repeating the cycle makes change much easier to embrace. In fact, it brings continual change into the business process as a partner in success.

Find your personal kaizen

At its core, kaizen is a philosophy where one dedicates oneself to becoming more effective, more satisfied, and more efficient – and to pursuing these objectives in everything around them. Luckily, kaizen is adaptable to different working styles and personalities. It’s also not intimidating to most people since the benefits of improvements are easy to see.
Take the Kaizen approach to your daily life by following these three steps:

Track your time and energy expenses

Kaizen should be easy and painless because at its heart it encourages you to do less by eliminating wasteful activities. You’ve probably heard the oft-repeated phrase, “work smarter, not harder.” That’s the kaizen philosophy in a nutshell.

Take a close look at everyday activities and how long you spend on each. A notebook or ledger can be very helpful in this regard. Jot down the time invested in each task for at least a week. You’ll soon become aware that some of your time is being wasted, and it’s keeping you from focusing on what you really want to accomplish. Here are some areas you should take particular note of:

How many reports are you generating and who is actually using them?
How many meetings do you attend which, in retrospect, you don’t need to?
How many projects are you involved in that have never yielded actionable results?
What “must do” tasks can you simplify, streamline or automate?

Seize the day with small steps

List in hand, it’s time to determine which tasks you really must attend to, and which ones you’ve been completing out of habit or because no one ever told you to stop. Cut the tasks that are of questionable value, and for those you decide you must do, write down the ways each might be improved.

Take small steps and you’ll be surprised at both their big impact and how readily they’re embraced by your workplace. If the small changes in your workday don’t seem to create the extra time you need for that long postponed project, keep at it. If your continuous-improvement behavior becomes a habit, that extra time will inevitably become available.

Review what works, and what doesn’t

When these techniques fail, you won’t need a coach or supervisor to point it out. You’ll feel the frustration, anxiety or impatience failure causes at key points of the day. Note these times well: later, you can reflect on them to discover additional small changes you can make to smooth over such bumps.

Ask yourself where the pitfalls and vistas of your day were, and why each came about. What was learned? What can be improved?

Next, of course, it’s time to repeat the process. That’s the “continuous” part of “continuous improvement.” By doing so, you’ll find you’re well on your way to replacing the frustration of unrealistic goals with the joy of watching great things arise from measured successes.

Greg Norton

Keep the Change with Kaizen

was written by me, Greg Norton – also known as webzenkai. I’ve got more than two decades’ experience building effective websites and powerful email campaigns that yield results. Feel free to contact me regarding this article or anything else you find on this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can i help you?

Got a question or suggestion? Let me know what’s on your mind. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!