one small change

I know a leader who used the “kaizen” method years ago to grow her team, her firm, her brand into one of the top firms in Orlando. When I read about kaizen again last week, I thought I’d share it with you. What is it?

Very small, incremental changes lead to significant results in your life, your work.

Example 1: A divorced mother of two, working full-time, dealing with lots of stress, a shaky support system and her job on the ropes, Julie had high blood pressure, was 30 pounds overweight, felt fatigued, depressed. Her doctor knew this combination would lead to more serious illness if she didn’t start doing something about it. He wanted to suggest 30 minutes of regular physical activity but knew she’d think he didn’t really understand her situation. Or, she’d agree to it and feel worse if she didn’t do it, which had occurred with other patients.
Instead, he asked if she could march in place for one minute each night while watching TV. She said she could. At her next visit, she was proud to say she’d done it and asked what else she could do for one minute a day. He added another minute of exercise. Over time, Julie increased her activity, felt better and became open to an exercise program. Her life was improving… because of one small change.    

Example 2: A manager would bark at his employees asking what they could do to make the company more successful. He thought it would energize them to come up with ideas, but it shut them down. His brusque approach and big ask were off-putting. Shifting gears, he tried a conversational approach, asking if they could think of one small change that could improve how things were done. Soon employees were suggesting small, time- and cost-saving ideas. Small changes led to significant improvements for the company.

There’s plenty of proof that this approach works. You may have heard of W. Edwards Deming, who introduced quality and process improvement in the U.S. during World War II and then to Japanese companies after the war to help them re-build the country. Toyota adopted this approach with their employees and named it “kaizen.”

What could YOU achieve if you were to make one small change starting today?

My two examples are from: One Small Step Can Change Your Life – The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.

Prefer video? Here’s Maurer talking about many examples. 

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