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Science of Success: The Culture of Kaizen


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Although change can make some entrepreneurs uneasy, it can also be an extremely powerful and important aspect of growing a small business. Kaizen, a Japanese term meaning “change for the better,” is a concept of continuous improvement, and it is used by many successful companies such as Toyota.

Implementing a culture of Kaizen in your small business will not only help make high-quality progress a priority, but it will also make change less intimidating for you and your employees. Review these key tenets of Kaizen and consider how to integrate them into your small business’ daily or weekly practices.

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Science of Success: The Culture of Kaizen

  1. 1. See It Yourself Toyota’s senior executives often exchange the boardroom for on-site experiences to see any inefficiency and waste firsthand. Hold one out of every three meetings on-site to ensure that you’re in tune with everyday operations. KAIZEN: COMMIT YOUR SMALL BUSINESS TO CONTINUED PROGRESS Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning continuous improvement. It utilizes precision, standardization and innovation to manage quality, increase output and nix waste. It’s also a key component of “The Toyota Way,” which defines Toyota’s managerial approach and production system — and has been integral to its success. Apply these kaizen tactics to your business to make high-quality progress a core tenet of your company’s culture. Think Small In 2013, as a volunteer project, Toyota used kaizen to reduce meal service wait times at a New York City food bank from 90 to 18 minutes through a series of minor changes. In your own business, identify small, incremental improvements that can be put into play immediately. Powered by STAPLES THE SCIENCE OF SUCCESS For more small business advice, visit 04 Commit to Kaizen Each year, Toyota produces upward of 1 million process improvement ideas — 90% of which are implemented. Commit 10% of your time to kaizen, evaluating systems, exploring new methods and consulting those on the front lines. Empower Employees Toyota line workers are authorized to halt production if a flaw in the process is detected. Encourage employees to evolve processes through open commu- nication, incentives for innovative thinking, and ongoing training. 01 02 03 Sources: