Crazy for Kaizen

Bob Goldman on

I love Kaizen. Everyone loves Kaizen. That only leaves one question -- what the heck is Kaizen?

Is Kaizen that hot new word game where you have to see how many words you can make using only six letters of the Mongolian alphabet? Is it an ancient martial arts discipline in which you train mind and body to face danger and then run like hell? Or is it the antidote to KonMari in which you take all the stuff Marie Kondo made you put in the dumpster, bring it back and then buy more?

No, no and no.

Kaizen is a global management philosophy that seeks to improve performance through incremental change. Rather than wait for the big breakthrough, those who practice Kaizen believe "small, incremental changes are easier to implement than large, radical changes but they can have powerful cumulative results."

Or so says Lisa Michaels in her article about the subject on The Job Network website.

While Kaizen was originally -- and, one assumes, incrementally -- developed for the factory floor, there's no reason why you can't put its principles to work in your executive cubicle or personal home.


If your spouse finds you dozing on the couch instead of steam-cleaning the dogs, as you promised to do, simply explain that you are utilizing Kaizen methods to incrementally implement the task, which, at this pace, should be completed in 2023.

Or maybe you should keep Kaizen in the workplace.

"Embrace incremental change" is one of the underlying principles of Kaizen. Don't wait for an earthshaking breakthrough that revolutionizes your job 100% but challenge yourself to find "one percent improvement each day."

Since you accomplish so little, calculating that 1% may require 10% extra effort. That's why I prefer to think in terms of one-minute improvements. Say you came into work one minute later every day. No one will notice a minute here or there, and since there are 480 minutes in an 8-hour workday, that means in a skosh more than a year, you will be working exactly 11 minutes a day. Now that's a real improvement!


swipe to next page


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Intelligent Life Luann Tim Campbell Doonesbury For Heaven's Sake Meaning of Lila