Kaizen is a Way of Life

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Kaizen is a Way of Life
Victor Garcia, Manager, Mexico, Member
I believe that Kaizen has not been well understood by most of the occidental companies; Kaizen is not a specific program, Kaizen is not a special project, Kaizen is not a quality circle activity... Kaizen is a way of life, a super4 source of motivation for all the employees (if is correctly directed).
Here the managers play a critical role, because they have to "coach" their team mates, so they can accept, absorb and live the continuous improvement. Most people feel that improvements are difficult to perform, and they feel that only a few "illuminated" are able to implement these improvements (i.e. black belts, green belts, engineers, etc). But this is where the biggest challenge arises for the managers: how to break down this barrier?
The answer is to make people believe in themselves, they must trust and feel that THEY are the experts on what they are doing (in fact, they are!). Once they have confidence, they are ready to support the Kaizen, because they will start to propose improvements.
 

 
Kaizen is a Specific Program Too!
mohamed fahmi jaffar, Malaysia, Member
Though Garcia mentioned that Kz is not a specific program, my 12-year experience in a Japanese MNC had instilled a habit that Kz must be practised through a proper formal schedule throughout the year with attached reward or recognition lest it will go in disarray or into oblivion.
 

 
Why the Kaizen Philosophy is Needed
Edward DiDonna, Manager, United States, Premium Member
I fully appreciate the challenge of gaining participation and acceptance from employees.
The perception of an "illuminated" elite is built in to traditional management structures. Traditionalists often rely on "outliers" to provoke and challenge the status quo, but ensure that any disruption is muted and scrubbed through the system. When thinking is encouraged, a framework like Kaizen is often missing. Mis-guided thinking leads to poor planning and implementation, further reinforcing a top down approach to management and productivity.
I think this is a significant middle management challenge in the US. Organizations continue to trim management ranks without adding value to the support structures necessary to ensure that vision and strategy become successful business outcomes.
 

     
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