Kaizen is a Japanese business model which focuses on continual improvement. This is a philosophy that can be applied to one’s everyday life and to organizations as a whole to promote enhancement at all levels. The philosophy is simple: we should constantly be trying to improve ourselves. It is not the drastic changes that bring us success but rather the tiny daily steps we take towards those achievements. This continuous cycle has six simple steps to follow.
- Identify a Problem or Opportunity
A large part of continual improvement is identifying either a problem or an opportunity within your life. Whether it is at work or in your personal life, there are always new improvements that can be made. It is a great thing to be able to identify these areas. Perhaps you will see an opening for a new hobby in your life, or maybe your business needs to boost employee engagement. Whatever it is, make sure you are opening your eyes to the constant possibilities available to you.
- Explore New Ideas
Once you have identified areas you can improve, it is time to begin exploring ways to meet this objective. This is a time you can truly challenge yourself to be your most creative. Innovative souls often find themselves meeting great rewards after putting their time and energy into finding new possibilities. Remember to keep these ideas realistic, as this is more a mindset than a capital investment.
- Break Down the Ideas
After spending your time brainstorming, it is time to break down your ideas. Kaizen is meant to promote small, incremental improvements. If you have an idea, it needs to be broken down into small steps you can attain. What daily practices will you put into place to achieve this? How will this contribute to your overall growth? You must be intentional in the small steps in order to achieve big things.
- Implement the New Idea/Solution
The next step, naturally, is to implement your new idea or solution. After breaking down your vision into further steps, it is now time to put them into action. Begin implementing these measures into your daily lifestyle just as you planned out in the previous step.
- Test or Adjust the Idea
As with any new venture, there is a period for trial and error. You may notice some of these small steps are not working the way you had hoped. Thankfully, Kaizen philosophy accepts this possibility and gives the grace to make adjustments. You might find yourself making slight adjustments to your plan. This is all part of the process of continual improvement.
- Implement it and Start Again
Finally, once you’ve adjusted your initial ideas, you will find yourself looking back on the process with a thankful heart. But the process is not over. The cycle begins again as you find closure to one aspect of your life and look forward to the next problem or opportunity. Kaizen is an endless cycle full of continual improvement, a process that has situated many individuals and businesses for long-term success.