Kaizen is a Way of Life
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.