Change is against human nature. In order to pull off kaizen successfully, you need a strategic plan.
No matter what people may say, criticism is not something that people generally like. Even the most open minded person will feel a heartful pang when criticised, yet alone those who are more prone to perch proudly on their rotting pedal stool.
A successful test run of kaizen will ultimately be found in small, closely knit, open minded teams. The choice is deliberate: small teams makes it easier to try out small improvements to see if they work. Closely knit teams are important, as it would mean that attempts at changes won’t be taken as personally nor offensively. And finally, without people who are open minded to change, kaizen will never be born.
Remember that kaizen is all about incremental change. Anyone who tells you that kaizen must involve massive projects is sadly mistaken. While kaizen projects can cascade into a massive project later down the line, this does not happen first and will often take time.
Once you have a few success stories, start increasing the number of kaizen projects done and start trialling it out in other teams. With a bit of time, kaizen will slowly become entrenched into the corporate consciousness, and with the benefits clearly on show through success stories, difficult to roll back.
Have you had a chance to try running small kaizen projects? How did you introduce kaizen into your team?
Photo credit: Scott Moore