Sharpen Your Saw

Incorporating the Kaizen Philosophy

Have you ever heard of the Japanese business philosophy Kaizen? In literal terms it means ‘change for better’, or the act of continually improving work practices and personal efficiencies.

At this time of year many of us look to improve in various areas of our lives. Health and fitness seems to take the number one spot as new gym memberships spike.

However, the area that consistently receives the least attention, is the one that has the biggest potential for return on investment: personal growth.

At this juncture, many individuals and organisations look at their processes and see them ticking over and running smoothly. As a result, they often fail to ask the question, ‘how can it be improved?’. That perspective is firmly rooted in the safety zone and what @CarolDweck describes as a fixed mindset. If you are searching for genuine personal or career improvement, incorporating the Kaizen philosophy can be a major enabler.

How many of you reading this have bigger aspirations that surpass your current position in your professional life? To make these a reality, I suggest asking yourself one challenging question:

What skill or talent do I need to master this year to improve my professional output and make myself indispensable? 

January is a wonderful time to be selfish; in fact it’s probably the only time of year where we can entirely focus on our own wants or ‘resolutions’. In fact, it’s socially accepted and praised, especially after the Christmas period of so much giving. You’ve earned that time to invest in yourself, so our suggestion would be to capitalise before you become distracted and caught by the wave again.

 5 Easy Quick Steps to get you moving:

1. Think about where you are right now vs. where you want to be

2. Visualise where you desire to be this exact time next year. What does it look like? How do you feel?

3. Ask yourself “What skill or talent do I need to master this year to improve my professional output and make myself indispensable?”

4. PLAN PLAN PLAN – Design your plan, plan for setbacks and consider who can help you. Start with one step you can take in 24 hours.

5. Spend time uncovering why this is so important to you and create the purpose behind it. When it elicits a strong emotional meaning you’ve found all the motivation you need now and along your journey.

Kaizen was developed to improve the Japanese manufacturing processes after the war and they are still living this philosophy today with great success. The art of Kaizen is consistently seeking small incremental improvements and we invite you to be more curious about the small improvements you can make this year to make you more effective, talented and skilled in 2018.