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How do you manage change in your business? Is it something you approach with trepidation? Does it just seem to happen, and you deal with the consequences? Or does top management implement big strategies? Whatever you feel about it, embracing change can help you grow and develop your company effectively.

Before you start committing to large budgets and major disruption, have you considered exploring the Japanese concept of “kaizen”? Kaizen means “change for the good” and the theory originated after World War II in Toyota. It is based on the belief that all things can be improved by small incremental changes which will naturally lead to substantial changes over the longer term. 

With kaizen, everyone, at every single level in an organisation, is actively encouraged to identify inefficiencies in productivity, effectiveness and safety, and to suggest improvements which are listened to, and then implemented.

Introducing this company-wide approach can result in additional long term benefits which go beyond just focusing on profits. These could include:

  • Staff become more satisfied because they have direct input in the way things are done. 
  • Commitment is improved with team members more inclined to contribute fully to their roles.
  • Better staff retention as satisfied and engaged people are more likely to stay.
  • Improved problem solving when processes are examined from a solutions perspective allowing employees to solve problems continuously.
  • Stronger teams as a result of working together to problem solve on a regular basis.

Small steps, little and often – words we often don’t associate with corporate success, but maybe if everyone in a company (including ourselves), adopts a mindset of continuous improvement and is fully committed to making small changes from top to bottom, kaizen can transform how our businesses operate.