What is Kaizen?
KAI = Change, ZEN = Good
Thus, Kaizen represents Changes that are meant for Betterment. Kaizen philosophy originated in Japan is today known as a strong pillar for business improvement strategies all over the world. Those in the world who have adopted and implemented Kaizen policies have savoured growth.
Since the principles of Kaizen are related to progress, we can apply them in personal life, domestic life, social life and professional life. Under this principle, we constantly try to identify the problems, analyse them and improve them. Working through this process helps us to move forward continuously and that too in a more advanced way than before.
Let us now learn about the 10 important principles of Kaizen.
10 principles of Kaizen
- Embrace New Ideas
Any person must accept change to move forward. Those who are unable to accept change are left behind in the race for success.
The first principle of Kaizen also says that we should openly welcome change and new ideas. We can never move forward by sticking to our old thinking and rigid attitude.
- Be Accountable
It is in human nature to blame others for any trouble and failure. In this blame game, we forget the real problem and reduce our productivity further. Along with taking responsibility for work, we should also take responsibility for its success or failure. Any business is the outcome of the combined efforts of all concerned departments. If any one of them does not work properly, the whole business gets affected. In such a situation, if we spend our precious time blaming others instead of solving the problem, then we will never be able to move forward. Accept the failure and reach out for the solutions, and that’s what Kaizen theory says.
- Do Corrections
Procrastination always brings loss; no matter what area it is in. According to Kaizen, too, if we find the problem in any department, then instead of escaping or side-stepping it, we should take measures instantaneously. Delay in solving the problem always leads us to losses. At the same time, by resolving it instantly, we increase our productivity further.
- Pick the Root Cause
To end any problem, it is essential to go to its root cause. We often examine them from the surface, never peeking into their depths. With this the problem never ends, it remains the same, and we keep getting entangled in the same problem repeatedly. It directly affects our productivity. According to Kaizen, we should always pick the root cause of the problems and take action on it rather than dealing with it superficially.
- Trust Statistics
The growth or productivity of any organization is measured through its statistics. We cannot measure our success and failure through people’s thoughts and opinions. The opinion may be driven by emotions so can’t be relied upon, but statistics tell the truth of the organization without being influenced by anyone. Kaizen says to always trust data and statistics.
- Improvement Has No Limit
The Kaizen process is not just a one-time follow-up; it should have a life-long association with our organization. We can achieve a short milestone by adopting this process once, but if we want to attain far-reaching success then we have to put it in our system forever. Kaizen is not a one-stop destination but a journey of a lifetime to achieve success.
- Seek Opinion From Multiple People
It is very important to know what people’s opinion about your organization is. We should not be limited to any one source or person but should welcome the information and opinions from multiple people. Taking opinions from a single person limits our capability of impartial thinking and sometimes it keeps us away from a significant piece of information. Following the Kaizen principle allows us to think from a broader angle.
- Authorize Team For Problem-Solving
Having faith and trust in the team surges their self-confidence. By giving attention to their opinions and ideas, their ability to make the right decisions escalates. According to the Kaizen principle, we should encourage our team to share ideas and give them the right to make decisions. With this, we can build a self-reliant, confident and problem solver team.
- Aim For Improvements Over Perfection
Many times, by running after perfection, we are left behind in both time and success. The desire for perfection is not wrong, but because of that we often lag in time and that is our biggest loss. Instead, we should focus on small shortcomings. Overcoming these shortcomings gradually improves our system and brings it to perfection.
- Stay Positive
There is certainly a solution to every problem; it just needs a little patience and faith. We should use challenges as opportunities. It is not wise to give up due to fear of unfavourable circumstances and hurdles. How fun it is to face challenges with courage and defeat them with audacity! Positive thinking overcomes great difficulties. Be assertive, just focus on the process and everything can be achieved.
“There are no big problems – there are just a lot of little problems” – Henry Ford.
And by following Kaizen principles one can master to overcome these little problems.