Every day, at the end of our 7:00 am call, I say to my team, “Go get a little better today than you were yesterday.”
Our team mindset is to put in the work required to continuously improve bit by bit, day by day. We start our day with the mindset to be the hardest working team; to have that gradual compounding improvement in everything we do.
Recently, I was explaining these core values to someone, and he said, “That’s the Kaizen approach.”
“The what?” I responded.
He went on to explain it’s Japanese approach, which means “good change.” It’s a gradual improvement over time to reach a goal.
Of course, I immediately looked up the Kaizen approach, because it mirrors what I live by. To me, it has always been common sense: we should all be trying to improve in everything we do.
Kaizen started showing up in Japanese businesses after World War II, when business owners knew competition was high. The productivity mindset can be applied to anything you do, and is broken down into six steps:
Standardize. Come up with a process that’s repeatable and organized.
Measure. After you have come up with a process, examine its efficiency. Use quantifiable data to measure.
Compare. Compare your measurements against your requirements. Does the process save time or take too much time?
Innovate. Search for better or more efficient ways to achieve the same, or better, results.
Standardize. Yes, this is the same as step 1. But with new, innovative ways to obtain results, you need new, repeatable processes.
Repeat. For continuous improvement, the process never ends.
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Doing things the way they’ve always been done is a bad idea.
Even for the things that are working. Even the tasks you are doing on a daily basis.
No matter what your current results are, there is room for improvement. If you don’t innovate and work towards growth, someone else will.
Take a look this week at your daily processes and tasks. Is there anything you are doing because you’ve always done it that way? Are you getting the same results you’ve always gotten?
Those are your opportunities to implement the Kaizen approach.