By Jon Miller | Post Date: June 21, 2007 2:15 PM | Comments: 2
The theme of kaizen and the human brain is one of our favorites here at Gemba, and this week's post by Mike Lopez at the Lean blog takes on the important topic of Psychology & Lean. Mike points out that the way in which you do kaizen shouldn't be a barrier to people with certain personalities. Specifically, Mike argues for ways to make it easier for introverts to lead kaizen events, without being exhausted by the amount of time they have to spend with people during and around kaizen events.
He makes some good points and offers remedies. Yet the fundamental premise in his situation seems to be that kaizen = kaizen events. This is too often true in many companies. There is really no good reason for having kaizen events be the main or the only way to do kaizen. How many ways can you do kaizen at your company? This is a question I am asking more and more often these days.
For too many trekkers on the Lean journey, kaizen is synonymous with kaizen events, the full-blown five-day affairs with training on the front end and a celebration on the back end. Or for Japanese-owned companies it may be a more of a rough-and-tumble gemba kaizen which is pared down to getting the improvements made in a few days. These can be team-based, but expert-driven, potentially creating barriers to total involvement.
Everyone should have at least one way to do kaizen on any given day.
Perhaps the suggestion box is the primary way kaizen is done in your organization, and if certain stumbling blocks are avoided, this can be a great way to have total involvement in kaizen. QC Circle activities are another good way for people to work on kaizen activities in small teams over longer periods of time than during a kaizen event. Managers and senior leaders can lead problem solving through jishuken initiatives or by managing through A3 reports. And the list continues to about 10 distinct ways a person can do kaizen, everyday.
It's worth repeating, with emphasis:
Everyone. Should have. At least. One way. To do. Kaizen. Everyday.
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