Kaizen is one of the most effective and highly praised performance enhancing philosophies out there, as it yields results almost immediately and it can be easily implemented to pretty much every single area of an organization. Kaizen results can be evident in areas ranging from manufacturing and logistics, all the way to customer service and human resources management inside the company itself.
What is great about is that it can be done with almost any type of budget in mind and whether you have a large company with thousands of employees worldwide or a small business that you are starting out yourself, Kaizen surely has something that can help you make the difference and point your entire enterprise in the direction you want.
With that being said, things do not always go as planned, and even Kaizen’s methodical approach to small but constant improvements can sometimes be halted, and its implementation is not a stranger to delays and poorly executed applications. What are some of the most common mistakes being made? How can you avoid being another statistic that covers the number of failed attempts at kick-starting these productivity initiatives? Today in David Kiger’s Blog, we want to talk about signs to watch for in your checklist, to make sure that your Kaizen events are always successful.
A Clear Picture
The most common mistake ever made when implementing, not just kaizen, but any strategy to enhance performance and productivity is the lack of communication and breakdown of clear goals and milestones. It may sound like something that is simply obvious, but you will be surprised by the sheer amount of failed endeavors that made this factor responsible for their downfall. Kaizen leaders are responsible for making sure that everyone is informed, that questions are answered and nobody has anything but a crystal-clear picture of what it is that the team is trying to accomplish and what the strategy to get there is. Clarity is paramount, as you cannot expect people to blinding reach a goal they do not know exists.
Take it Step by Step
Kaizen is all about getting there slowly but surely. A big problem arises when people shoot for perfection right from the beginning as they will not just fail, but also feel extremely discouraged due to their botched attempt to prematurely culminate a process. For everyone who has read or been trained on Kaizen, it is abundantly clear that the core of this philosophy is the search for small but constant improvements and not the achievement of perfection as its main goal. Patience is the cornerstone of a strongly founded Kaizen strategy and that is why it is so important to understand that this is a marathon and not a race. Many endeavors fail due to the negligence of this important rule.
Failing to present results to members or the organization right away is a grave mistake. People feel underappreciated and anxious after they lay down so much hard work just to be met with silence and the feeling that everything that happened was all in their heads. It is crucial to communicate results right away, no matter how insignificant they seem at the time. The impact on morale and the boost that it gives to the learning process as a whole is worth the effort and it doesn’t instill a great sense of belonging when employees are made aware of their strides and the current state of the process they are undertaking.
Get Everyone Involved
People wrongly believe more often than not, that management does enough by simply supporting the implementation of Kaizen and overseeing its process. However, your process has a high chance of failure unless your leadership is deeply involved in its implementation and gets their hands dirty with the process itself. Kaizen is for everyone, and no matter what your rank or position in the company is, Kaizen can teach you a thing or two about improvement. Do not allow for the process to feel like it is beneath some members of the organization. Everyone and anyone must be part of it in order to ensure its success.
Kaizen is Not Over When It’s Over
Is it possible to stop improving? Since perfection is nearly impossible to reach, then we can safely assume that there is always room for improvement, no matter how good we get at something. Kaizen is like a way of life, and it shouldn’t stop even if they initial goals are reached. The focus of Kaizen may shift, but it should never be entirely removed as a constant aim for improvement will always be a defining characteristic of a company that is made to last.
You will get nowhere if after the changes take place and the improvement becomes noticeable, you forget to train your newcomers and teach other members of the organization, how Kaizen made the improvements possible. Teach people about the new procedures and explain to them why they work. Otherwise, you will go back to the same mistakes of the past.
* Featured Image courtesy of Breakingpic at Pexels.com