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Creating a Culture of Improvement in your Company

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I heard of a company that erected a white board and encouraged employees from all levels within it to constantly watch for and identify opportunities for change and improvement within the company and to write them on the whiteboard. A team would gather weekly to discuss the ideas and determine which one to pursue. The selected idea would then be developed, applied and validated using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle. If the idea resulted in a measurable improvement, the worker who submitted the idea received a bonus.

Businesses are operating in a time where competition is continually increasing and more than before, it is those who stand out from the crowd by offering the highest quality products/services at competitive prices will thrive. This company employed what is called the Kaizen strategy. One source defines kaizen as improving everybody, every day, everywhere. Its philosophy empowers everyone to assume responsibility for their processes and improve them.

In today’s article, we look at the ten specific principles the Kaizen method follows. You may realize that you are already using some of them or that by employing them within your company, you can begin to create a culture of gradual, continuous improvement.

“(i) Improve everything continuously. (ii) Abolish old, traditional concepts. (iii) Accept no excuses and make things happen. (iv) Say no to the status quo of implementing new methods and assuming they will work. (v) If something is wrong, correct it. (vi) Empower everyone to take part in the problem solving. (vii) Get information and opinion from multiple people. (viii) Before making decisions, ask “Why” five times to get the root cause. (5 Why method). (ix) Be economical. Save money through small improvements and spend the saved money on further improvements. (x) Remember that improvement has no limits. Never stop trying to improve.”

How do you create a culture of continuous improvement among all levels of employees and in all areas of your company? The Kaizen approach is based on the belief that continuous, incremental improvement adds up to substantial change over time. Create a mindset of continuous improvement within your organization. Educate your team and provide them with the tools necessary to stay ahead of the competition.

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