Kaizen should be a way of life for all things; it is a mindset of small continuous improvements. Let’s use a simple example that many can relate to. Let’s say you own a house, and that house eventually will need to be painted, a new roof, new flooring or perhaps a new kitchen. What most people do is wait until the house is falling apart, then they refinance and fix it all at once.
With the Kaizen mindset focused on intent, you would never let the house get to the point where it desperately needs fixing, simply because you would continuously be fixing the small things as they need improvement. A Kaizen mindset is a philosophy for continuous small improvements.
Staying with the example of the house that needs fixing, a Kaizen event requires the following five lean principles:
- Define Value: Figure out what is important to increase the value of the house
- Value Stream: Analyze the current state, design its future state, figure what is important to you. If you subtract what is not important to you, you will reduce waste
- Create Flow: Develop a continuous improvement mindset and family culture so the house can stay beautiful and you can have money in the bank.
- Establish Pull: Limit your home inventory — you’d be surprised how nice a neat home looks. So if you don’t need it, toss it, give it to charity, give it away to a friend, or sell it. Just don’t keep it if you don’t need it.
- Pursue Perfection: This is more on the Lean and Kaizen mindset, that means making improvements is part of your life. It is why we exercise or eat healthy; all of that falls under making small continuous improvements everyday for amazing results.