Kaizen | A Japanese Philosophy You Can Use to Improve Your Team Structure

“Renew the heart and make it good”, Kaizen is a Japanese term that can be translated as, “constant improvement for the good”.

Kaizen is the philosophy at the forefront of Toyota Motor Company’s operations. It is considered one of the world’s greatest manufacturers. There is even a book written about “The Toyota Way”.

Kaizen: Constant Improvement


At the heart of Kaizen is teamwork, making the philosophy a team building strategist’s dream! Every employee is encouraged to share his/her ideas for improvement and the smallest changes will often get consideration and implementation. Team members at Toyota are encouraged to find the minor details that could use improvement, and to make the improvement. Unorganized filing system? Sort the papers, alphabetize, color code, done.

kaizen

That sounds pretty basic right? Elementary thinking you may say. Well, even the most common sense approaches might come to a screeching halt if management doesn’t deem them an appropriate use of time. For instance- purging files.

Many companies restrict file purging as part of the work process. However, ANYONE who works in an office knows how quickly paperwork piles up and gets out of date, rendering it obsolete and useless. With all that pile up comes clutter, physical and mental, and that stops up the works.

It can be time management battle just to get even a couple of hours out of an entire year to go through the clutter and get rid of what is no longer needed, but it isn’t rocket science. Giving your employees time each quarter to go through their paperwork, clean out their offices and start fresh is essential for optimum productivity.

When you focus on clearing the old you tie up loose ends and clear a little space on your plate. You’re team is sure to feel renewed and ready to face challenges ahead.

Kaizen works for many reasons:

  1. It empowers employees to be decision makers
  2. It eliminates waste for your company
  3. Low cost, high impact results
  4. Savings can be used for your next team building event!

There are many more reasons why Kaizen is a philosophy every company should consider implementing. There are courses and certifications available to learn the deeper philosophies. There are also several books written about it. Maybe this one would be a good for your team’s book club?!

What are your thoughts? Are you familiar with Kaizen?

Have you made any small changes that had a huge impact on your team’s morale? We’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below!

 

Flora Baxter

Team Contributor

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