We overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year!
Stop that ish!
This year has taught us a lot, and because things are so uncertain and changing by the day, my approach has pivoted to breaking my bigger goals, into smaller goals with shorter milestones/benchmarks. What if you committed to small incremental changes every day, and celebrated your milestone wins along the way.
Let’s talk Kaizen….
The word kaizen means “improvement” or “change for the better” in Japanese. However, the term is used more specifically to refer to continuous improvement, or small changes.
The term Kaizen first adopted this meaning in the world of business. This was especially pertaining to the methodologies of car manufacturer Toyota, initially. The strategy has been successfully adapted to business for many organizations, and later to the self-improvement field. The book Toyota Way explains the use of Kaizen in detail and has canonized its usage to some extent. The idea of 1% better everyday is also a company policy of one of my speaking clients Door Dash, where everyone commits to and measures their daily 1% improvement.
Kaizen is all amount focusing on the minutiae. On making small changes that add up to big differences. But whereas many self- help books tell you that this translates to “flossing your teeth” a little every day to ingrain new habits, that isn’t actually anything to do with the original meaning of the word.
Types of Kaizen
In business, in its original context, Kaizen has been generally broken down into two separate terms:
In flow kaizen, the approach looks at a “value stream.” This might be a whole work flow, in which the organization can look for different opportunities to improve the process.
Imagine a large production line that involves several stages. While making a tiny change at each step of the way won’t seem to have a big impact on its own, when taken as a whole, all those tiny improvements can potentially have a huge result.
Process kaizen on the other hand is the “concentrated improvement of a single process.” That means looking at one step and making constant small improvements to get it to the point where it is the best it can be.
Kaizen is often described as being “bottom up,” meaning that you start by looking at the most fundamental levels and making small changes there. You can potentially improve every aspect of your business by cleaning the floors. Why? Because cleaner floors mean fewer accidents and happier staff. That leads to more efficient storage and retrieval. That leads to more funds left over, and happier customers. That leads to more moral and more R&D. The result is better products, and a better brand image.
Simplify and Eliminate Waste.
In any given process, there is almost always “waste” that can be eliminated. By getting rid of these errors, you can significantly increase the speed of a process. This can have huge and transformational changes for a business and your personal creative process.