Go “Kaizen” Yourself

Kaizen is the Japanese process for “continual improvement”.  It’s become hip to use these days in self-improvement circles, but its origins in the US come from Toyota and lean manufacturing processes.  While many will throw the word around as a catch phrase, those who truly understand Kaizen, understand it’s a way of life.

In the business world, Kaizen is used to continually improve all facets of your business.  Implementing Kaizen led to the competitive advantage Japanese manufacturers had on their American competitors. It brought Japan from the depths of WWII reconstruction back to a manufacturing and technological power.  Using Kaizen, companies review and evaluate all aspects and facets of their business.  They look to provides tools and procedures to achieve the best results.  Kaizen helps lead them towards their “True North” as a company.

Kaizen is great for companies and can be great for your family.  As a dad you should use Kaizen to continually improve all areas of your life.  Applying a Kaizen philosophy towards your relationships, your kids, finances, health and work keeps you on track to be the best dad.  Along with your values, it’s the backbone behind your decision making.  We all make choices and you can use Kaizen to evaluate the choices you make and find ways to improve the next time you’re faced with the same choice.

If you’re continually improving, you model for your kids and wife.  They notice your change and begin to fall in line.  You now have a strategy of Kaizen in place where you provide the tools for your family to continually improve.  A culture of continual improvement will grow in your family.  People notice change, whether it’s good or bad.  A change towards improving is powerful to others who see that improvement.

One pitfall in Kaizen is forcing change.  You can’t expect everyone to buy in to the same level you find yourself.  When you’re working on yourself and seeing results, it’s easy to get excited and want others to join you.  They may not be ready and you have to remember each person in your family is on their own journey.  You’re all walking together, but you take different paths at different times to reach the same location.  Don’t get discouraged and don’t create expectations for your family.  Just keep modeling Kaizen and keep improving.  Know that in the end, you’ll all get to the same place.

Start the process of Kaizen today.  Use this attachment to outline one area that you would like to improve and begin the process.  Personal Kaizen Assessment Form