Kaizen is a philosophy that originates from Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, coining the phrase for “continuous improvement” in their production system. It became popular in the 80’s as the philosophy spread west. This idea of continuous improvement applies to organizations to be as efficient as possible at every level and tackle any problems with solutions. This kaizen philosophy translates as an individual and team mindset for all of us.
Continuous improvement commands that we not stand still. We must get better, move forward, learn and grow. We should strive to outperform yesterday, and measure to be sure we did (or at least reflect that we gave the effort to have that shot). The kaizen mindset means you wake up each day and tackle each task you face with the energy to do it better than the last time. And then you evaluate and reflect on your actions with honesty to find any area for growth/improvement.
In order to function with a kaizen mindset, I believe you need three things: a positive attitude, a hunger to be somebody, and the discipline to do it day after day.
This idea may have evolved from workers and machines assembling cars, but it applies to us as individuals and on the teams we serve to help us to continually look for ways to improve our skills and processes. As Toyota proclaimed in their corporate culture: No process can ever be declared perfect, but it can always be improved. Give it some thought, and apply a kaizen mindset (continuous improvement) to each day!
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