Kaizen – Continuous Improvement

The way I see it, is that Kaizen looks at change through a wide angle lens. By consistently making small changes on a daily basis, over the long term you will benefit from the rewards. The changes can be applied to any kind of work but the aim is to keep the pattern of change to a minimal time limit each day. This is to encourage that you keep to your routine without straying from your set course. If your daily routine is too long to begin with then either you will burn out too quickly or you will get bored.

To give you a practical example in every day life for some one wanting to lose weight. Setting yourself the task to go the gym four times a week for one hour each time is a tall task by anybody means, unless you are a professional athlete that is. You, start off well and complete your first week and feel a real sense of achievement, your endorphins are running wild and now you feel like nothing can stop you.

Three weeks later your life has caught up with you and suddenly you are unable to go anymore due to your boss demanding extra commitment at work or because your will power has tailed off, your endorphins are now a distance feeling and you feel like a failure.

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Using the principle of Kaizen you  may instead set your target to only 30 minutes once a week. Yes you are correct in thinking that it isn’t going to make a big difference quickly, however that is the point of it. You will see the changes as a result of long term compounding from each day that you do. Plus you will find the commitment a lot more manageable which therefore will make you feel good about yourself as you are keeping to your targets instead of the opposite.

Once you are in a position where you have been doing it for a certain period of time you can then begin to increase your intensity  because by that time you will have also strengthened your brain to stick to your routines.

In theory you can apply it to anything, so here are 3 things you may consider using it for.

Finances 

You may consider saving a small amount  each week or month for a period of say 1 year up to 10 years. The savings plus the affect of the compounding interest over the period of time will result in having capital sum available to you. Now depending on your long term goal, they’re are different products with different characteristics, so you should consider contacting a financial adviser.

Learning a new language

It’s never been better to learn another language especially if you only speak one. They’re are various different apps out there but one I have used in myself is DuoLingo. 5 minutes a day for 6 months and you will be amazed in how much you will be understand and speak.

Building relationships

This is one we can probably all benefit from, whether it’s business or personal a simple text/call/chat over a cup of tea on a consistent basis can build and strengthen relationships to unprecedented levels.

Like always, for some people this works and for others it doesn’t. You have to decide whether this is right for you or not. 

Now for brief history 

Traditionally Japanese word kaizen simply means “change for better”, with no direct meaning of either “continuous” or “philosophy” in Japanese dictionaries or in everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word “improvement”. However, given the common practice in Japan of labeling industrial or business improvement techniques with the word “kaizen”, particularly the practices spearheaded by Toyota, the word “kaizen” in English is typically applied to measures for implementing  continuous improvement  especially those with a “Japanese philosophy”.

 

 

 

 

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