Kaizen – small steps

Kaizen – small steps to business success 

Kaizen is the taking of small steps to change a process or momentum. It is the Japanese word that refers to the philosophy or practices of continuous improvement. The concept has been applied in manufacturing, engineering, management, healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching,  and many other industries.

Why Kaizen? It helpsbypasses fear, fight-or-flight, amygdala flooding response, and helps creates new connections in the brain. Small steps are far easier to make that large steps. Many people procrastinate as a project or task as it seems too daunting. Breaking it down into smaller steps, bite size chunks, makes it easier to begin. Once a task is begun it is often easier to keep going. Think of getting off the couch to do one hour of exercise… vs getting up to do 5 minutes of exercise. The smaller chunk is easier to digest. Once exercising, it it easier to continue. Even 5 minutes of exercise done regularly is better than no exercise. It builds new habits over time.

Ask small questions. With the question: “How will I change/launch my company?” –  your brain is likely to shut down as the scope is too vast. Big questions can cause fear – too daunting. Ask “small step” simple Kaizen Questions: “If my business were my first priority, what would I be doing, now, today?” small steps

Think small thoughts. Start taking 30 seconds each day to imagine yourself as a successful, business person. Picture shaking hands, certificates and awards on the wall, the feeling of intrinsic satisfaction. When you’re comfortable, imagine yourself successfully dealing with the problems too. Sense of peace and calm. “I can cope” – small steps. Over time you can build up your confidence and deal with larger issues. Start with something easy.

Take small actions. Instead of vowing to work for five hours, spend five minutes planning. Small steps – once started momentum kicks in. Commit to 5 minutes of action.

Solve small problems. Look for small problems in your habits. Messy desk that distracts you, too many emails? Pick one problem and take a small step to make it better. Tidy up one room in the house, rather than trying to tidy the whole house. It is a smaller task and gives some satisfaction. Trying to tidy the whole house is a daunting task in one go.

Set small rewards. Big rewards focus on the wrong thing (still too daunting), it must be hard to need such big reward — Give yourself something small to reward your action. Even a moment to sit watching the sunset or five minutes extra in that relaxing bath in the evening.  small steps. What is the message you are sending if there is a big reward for exercise, accomplishing a business or managerial task? The message is the task is hard or you dislike the activity. If there is a small fun reward – the message is that the task is easier.

Identify small moments. Look for  Shining/hidden moments and recognise them for yourself. What moments feel good? Appreciate moments of pleasure, rather than moments of pain, and celebrate the shining moments. small steps

Toyota uses small steps to keep quality- every employee is empowered to stop the production line when they see a problem, allowing the engineers solve the problems when they are small, rather than letting them become major issues. Lance Armstrong uses small positive thoughts to improve his athletic performance.

Leadership and learning - Take small Kaizen steps

Take small Kaizen steps

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Richard Riche

Engagement and communication specialist at One Clear Message
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills.TED style speaking and presentation skills, Emotional Intelligence skills, Employee Engagement/Experience, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. One Clear Message offers training, consulting and coaching.
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