When company owners, entrepreneurs and even CEO hear about kaizen and how it can help with the continuous improvement of their companies, they immediately feel attracted to the idea of making some changes that in the end will help their organizations become better at what they already do and how they do it.
As it may seem simple to introduce the Kaizen culture to any company, individuals sometimes struggle with the change process it implies. Even worse than that, most individuals don’t know why the kaizen philosophy is not producing the expected effect on every company member. A simple way for companies to find out about what is going on is to start asking questions. Even though it sounds like a simple and very intuitive solution, human resources departments and C-level executives often skip this step or don’t think it is relevant to know what collaborators think about the Kaizen culture.
If you want to make any significant change in your life, you got to start out by identifying what you actually want to change. The best way for you to discover your weakness and strengths is by asking yourself relevant questions. In the working environment, something similar happens. CEO’s and company owners need to ask the right questions in order to identify their companies’ weakness and strengths. When these questions are properly answered, change takes place, positively affecting satisfactions ratings, safety scores and the working environment in general inside your organization.
In this article, David Kiger will help you identifying some of the most relevant questions you should ask in order to help you identify what your company’s issues are and how to implement the solutions you want to introduce to the organization and how to deal with your employees in the process. You need to keep in mind that even when it seems difficult to change the paradigms your organization has, no one is actually reluctant to the idea of continuous improvement.
Does my company need to change?
Of course, it does! Companies are just like human beings. They are born and raised by their parents, they learn some things along the years, they make mistakes, achieve their goals, acquire good and bad habits, are composed of numerous parts and sometimes they reproduce, see their children grow and die.
Identifying your company as it was a human helps you understand that there is always some room left for improvement. Organizations are made of humans who make mistakes and are capable of learning new things. For this reason, the Kaizen culture is vital to help your company grow better and sometimes faster.
Who should participate in this process?
If you think that only C-level executives or the human resources department are the only ones responsible for introducing the Kaizen culture to companies, you are wrong. Everyone who is involved with the company should be part of the implementation of the Kaizen culture. Keeping in mind what was said before: your company is like the human body if one organ fails, the entire body suffers. If every organ is healthy, it will help the rest of the body respond and even defend itself from external threats. For this reason, it is literally vital to implement the continuous improvement culture within the entire working team.
On the other hand, if you think about your company as a group of individuals and each one of those individuals is able to improve one thing every week, by the end of the month you will have four things that have been improved in one person. Multiply this effect by every member of your company and your will be amazed at how many changes your company can make in just a couple weeks. In the Kaizen culture, engaging every employee in the continuous improvement process is one of the most important things you can do.
When do companies need to start implementing the Kaizen culture?
As soon as possible! There is no good reason for your company to wait. If you already have identified what you need to improve inside your company, the best way for you to go is by starting the changing process immediately.
Manager and company leaders need to give employees the chance to implement the necessary changes as soon as the problems are identified. Long waiting times only allow team members to forget what is missing and the momentum to be lost. Turnaround times need to be minimized and the response to new ideas should be as quick as possible. Some companies even use software designed to develop continuous improvement strategies that help them introduce change right after a problem is identified.
What If my employees aren’t interested in the Kaizen Culture?
Your company just like the human body needs different types of entities to contribute to the body’s general wellness. The ideal agents to promote the Kaizen culture within your organization are leaders and managers in different areas. They should talk about the benefits of the Kaizen culture every time they have the chance to do so. They should include the Kaizen principles in the company’s mission and values, emphasizing the importance of changing bad practices and introducing the continuous improvement culture.
Leaders will help you break the myths and fears built around the Kaizen Culture, creating spaces for employees to ask more questions. The best Kaizen leaders are the ones who engage employees in the improving process and allow them to be the ones in charge of having a positive impact on the organization since they are the ones dealing with most of the root problems of it.