kaizen method

The Kaizen method: 7 key values 

The Kaizen method originated in Japan, and its name is derived from combining two fundamental ideas in different areas of life.

While “kai” refers to the idea of “change”, “zen” refers to the concept of “good” or “better”. Through this article, we analyze the basis of the Kaizen method and how to implement it to help companies and employees function more effectively

What is the Kaizen method?

The Kaizen method can be applied to different aspects of our life. It is a set of tools used to improve the running of corporate processes. How does one achieve this? 

Mainly by paying attention to critical skills: eliminating obstacles and interferences that impede the flow of these processes. This fosters more efficient results and is a powerful tool for preventing psychosocial risk factors such as stress, poor working environment, or burnout.

kaizen method

1. Have the will to improve

To apply the kaizen method to our tasks, the first thing we must do is to avoid conformism with a certain level of quality in execution and ask ourselves if the result obtained is the best possible and what we could do to improve or complete it. Even if we have achieved the best level of performance, the mere reflection on it has value.

2. Doing things with care

In addition to doing things well or to the best of our ability, the Kaizen method emphasizes a nuance that, in colloquial language, we would call “going the extra mile”. The idea is to do things carefully, paying attention to details, even those that seem irrelevant to us. When we work according to this method, we do so with full awareness of one desire: that the performance is as high quality in all aspects as possible. 

3. Improve performance at every moment

The Kaizen method is an attitude and a style of doing things that implies full rootedness in the present moment. The recommendation is not to wait until the final moments to review, polish, and track the possible appearance of errors or flaws in the execution of tasks. On the contrary, this methodology advocates for correcting mistakes as they occur, applying the highest level of quality in each phase of a production process.

What are the values on which the Kaizen method is based?

When we work according to these guidelines, we try not to lose sight of the fact that a good result is impossible without a good process. This requires giving importance to certain aspects of our performance, even for their own sake, regardless of the result they end up generating.

We must not lose sight of the fact that doing things as well as possible is a value in itself and also a concrete, practical way of performing the tasks assigned to each of us. From this point of view, aspects such as order, good organization, and synthesis are at the center.

The way to understand them is by eliminating the surplus because everything that does not contribute to the accomplishment of the task is hindering its execution. That is, it hinders it from being carried out in the best possible way. 

Assuming that discipline is to work with seriousness and rigor, the Kaizen method is based on several values, such as these:

  1. Quality of execution

If there is one thing that characterizes the Kaizen method, it is the importance it places on achieving the highest quality in each task. This is achieved by pursuing the highest possible level of quality in each phase of the execution process. 

2. Depth of observation

Those who wish to implement the Kaizen method cannot do so without a complete, complex, and profound vision of their tasks, results, and how much they resemble those they want to obtain. Superficiality in work does not generate the best possible performance. 

3. Process analysis

Along with the depth we have just mentioned, the look of the Kaizen method is analytical: it goes into detail, looks for connections, and encourages conclusions about what is happening at each moment of the production process. 

4. Involvement in the task

From this point of view, quality in the performance of tasks requires taking them seriously, taking responsibility for achieving the best possible performance, and, why not, with the desire to leave a personal mark on our results. 

5. Focus on the present

According to the underlying philosophy of the Kaizen method, it is important that the best possible performance happens at every moment of the execution, not only that it is sought as a finishing touch to the task. The best possible result is pursued from the first moment and at every moment.

kaizen method

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How do we apply the Kaizen method to our tasks? 

To apply this methodology to our work tasks, but also to those outside of work, we need the ability to observe: to stop, observe and try to understand what we see and do. This allows us to ask questions about the task, trace the details of the execution and realize them to improve the results as much as possible. 

The Kaizen method shows how important it can be to perform tasks carefully and of the highest quality, as every small action affects the performance of our daily tasks outside and inside the workplace. 

In this sense, it highlights how sometimes disinterest, fatigue, or idleness make us not value a minor failure that is not corrected, non-relevant deficiencies that are overlooked, and lack of reflection when deciding. 

Each of these small, medium, or large events in corporate methodology may not be very serious when viewed in isolation. The problem for companies, and therefore for employees, arises when we observe what effect the accumulation of uncorrected flaws has on the team’s productivity.

Fostering emotional well-being in organizations

It is not easy to obtain an optimal level of performance in all company processes, but it is possible when managers and employees have the help of the best professionals. 

At ifeel, we strive to ensure that you and your colleagues can benefit from our global emotional well-being program for companies, designed by our team of expert psychologists in well-being at work. This collaboration allows managers in the People, Talent, and Human Resources area to receive personalized, data-based advice on the best care for the psychological well-being of the teams under their charge. 

Do you belong to your organization’s Human Resources department? Try our program now to see how it could help you.

In addition, our program offers all employees a complete mental health care service that includes emotional support and online therapy with one of our professionals. 

Moreover, in our Resources section, you can find different materials, such as Podcasts, HR Guides on various topics (e.g., employee experience or how to design a good HR strategy), or Interviews with leading HR managers. In addition, we have a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which you can use to comply with the requirements of the Labor Inspection.

We hope you found this post on the Kaizen method interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, all you have to do is request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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