Posted: March 02, 2020
Kaizen is a Japanese term which means "constant and never-ending improvement." This mentality is often attributed to the Japanese's sucess over Ford in the automobile industry. The Ford model stayed the same and offered a single color and style. Whereas the Japanese constantly tweaked and updated their cars, over time the constant improvement allowed them to surpass Ford. In the business world this situation has happened many times. When a company gets stagnant, it's competitors gain the upper hand. Just think if blackberry had tried to innovate more, then perhaps they would still have a large percentage of the cell phone industry. If Blockbuster had shifted it's focus to streaming perhaps they would still be around and giving Netflix a run for their money.
The point being, if you're not improving then you're falling behind. In a fast moving world, if people do not continue to improve and learn new skills, then much like Blockbuster and Blackberry they are perhaps at risk of becoming insignificant. Of course that's a bit harsh, but in a way it holds some truth. When we continue to learn and grow we allow ourselves to become valueable. If we refuse to grow, we are just putting a metaphorical bullet in our own foot.
The good news is that personal growth does not need to be exponential. Small improvements made consistently are what allow us to grow. This could be as simple as giving up soda in order to lose weight. Reading ten minutes of a book before bed. Making sure you get at least twenty minutes of excercise a day. Any little change done consistently yields big results. This is the entire point of Kaizen, if we continuously improve no matter how big or small, the difference will show.
- Sensei Steve