Kaizen: A new religion? Speed dating? An extreme sport? No. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means ‘continuous, incremental improvement’. It’s about doing lots of things just that little bit better. This is smart, because it’s a lot cheaper, easier and faster (and still very effective) to do 100 things one per cent better than one thing 100 per cent better.
Here are four ways you can kaizen:
- Regularly review your performance. Whenever you do something, especially something you do a lot or something that’s important to do well, get in the habit of reviewing what you’ve done and how you’ve done it to see what you can learn from it. Whether you’ve done it well, poorly or in between, think it through. What exactly did you do? What were the results – How well did it work? What can you conclude from that? How can you use that information to do it even better the next time?
- Take responsibility for making the changes in yourself or your surroundings that will help you do things better, cheaper, faster or smarter, or more easily, reliably or safely.
- Watch how others do things to see what you can learn or adapt from them.
- Think creatively and innovatively. There is probably a better way and a different way to get the same result or a better result. But you need to search for it.
Here are some great questions to ask to help you kaizen:
- How can I do this BETTER?
- How can I do this EASIER?
- How can I do this FASTER?
- How can I do this MORE ECONOMICALLY?
- How can I do this MORE SUSTAINABLY?
- How can I do this MORE SAFELY?
- How can I do this MORE RELIABLY?
- HOW ELSE can I do this?