The Kaizen Method is a method that allows organizations to make small changes over time aimed at improvement. These changes will either lead to improvement or be discarded. The process will enable organizations to improve over time continuously. The continuous improvement model provides an organization with a simple method to facilitate change and encourage flexibility. Learning about Kaizen and other continuous improvement practices can assist an organization in making positive organizational changes aimed at continuous improvement.
Small Changes Build Great Things
A series of small things do great things when brought together. The initial premise is based on a quote by Vincent van Gogh about The Starry Night in 1889. Small changes or steps can be taken to accomplish great things. Kaizen is based on small changes over time that lead to improvement. Kaizen could assist an organization in making positive organizational changes aimed at continuous improvement.
Kaizen was developed in the manufacturing sector to lower defects, eliminate waste, boost productivity, encourage worker purpose and accountability, and promote innovation (Daniel, 2021). Kaizen encourages reduced waste, improvement toward perfection, and remaining committed to the process. Here are a few examples of Successful Kaizen implementations within significant organizations. Toyota used Kaizen and made the concept well known. Lockheed Martin. Used the method to reduce manufacturing costs and delivery time. Ford Motor Company CEO used Kaizen to execute one of the most famous corporate turnarounds (Daniel, 2021).
Kaizen can be used for more than lean manufacturing, although that typically comes to mind when discussing kaizen methodology. Kaizen is a straightforward process that can be used in many aspects of our own lives. To improve and become a better version of ourselves every day, you must actively seek improvement. Matthew McConaughey states that his hero is himself in ten years in his Oscar speech. He acknowledges the expectation that he will be a better version of himself ten years from now. He recognizes his desire for continuous improvement over time. He wants to make sure that he is a better version of himself tomorrow than today. This is a goal we should all seek.
Figure 1: Kaizen as a means of continuous improvement over time,
The practice of kaizen can assist you in improving by 1% per day and leading to continued success (Kelly, 2021). Kaizen can be applied in personal life by embracing the spirit of continuous improvement. Kaizen can be a life motto for growth-minded individuals that want to improve, and it may become a way of life. Kaizen is the practice of improving yourself through small, incremental, daily actions and forming habits that help you succeed.
Kaizen requires that one live for each moment, prioritize productivity, and encourage upward progress through tiny steps. Kaizen's focus on gradual improvement can create a gentler approach to change. Drastic changes aimed at achieving immediate positive results are often abandoned.
Ongoing positive changes can reap significant improvements. (Daniel, 2021). Kaizen can assist an organization and individuals seeking positive changes aimed at continuous improvement over time if they are willing to change, evolve, and remain flexible. Implementing small changes over time and keeping the differences that produce positive results while discarding the others leads to long-term success.
The Kaizen Method is a method that allows individuals to make small changes over time aimed at improvement. These changes will either lead to improvement or be discarded. The process will enable organizations and individuals to improve continuously. The ability to continuously improve over time allows people to survive and thrive. The continuous improvement model provides individuals with a simple method to enable change and encourage flexibility.
Self-leadership is not something to discount in the new remote workspace. Every employee should be encouraged to self-lead. In the remote work environment, it is vital to master self-leadership. If you do not lead, then who will? You are the best at teaching, motivating, and encouraging yourself to complete top-quality work.
I love working remotely. I can control the noise level and the temperature. I can play music while I work and choose what to listen to. It saves me time, and it helps conserve my energy making it possible to be more productive. I have often thought about leading those that you cannot see. It isn't easy, so do not do it. Teach remote workers to lead themselves. Show them how to motivate, encourage, and educate themselves.
As many of us work from home or other locations, we are not always under the direct supervision of managers, leaders, or mentors. Many workers are hurrying back to the office, and they are very excited to go back to the traditional way of working. However, many workers prefer remote work, and they feel like the arrangement is cheerful and evolving continuously. Recent studies have shown that millennials prefer flexible work relationships, and many will not accept a role that does not allow remote work.
The concept of self-management is becoming very important. It is essential to understand its value and to learn techniques to self-manage. While performing my dissertation research on the best leadership style for remote workers to achieve positive work outcomes, I worked with two subject matter experts. One was employed at Bank of America and one from Autommatic. Both SME’s stated that I should not discount self-leadership. For leaders to feel comfortable allowing remote workers to make their own decisions on how they will lead themselves and complete their work, they will need to trust their employees.
Trust is necessary for the leader/ follower relationship to be successful. All workers want to be trusted in their work environment, whether at home or in the office. Trust is a basic need for all people. Many remote workers feel that they are not trusted, and many managers think that remote workers cannot be trusted with this much freedom and autonomy. If trust is established, then e-leaders can allow remote workers to self-lead.
Self-leadership is the ability to manage oneself without other leaders, e-leaders, managers, or supervisors. Self-leadership includes setting clear personal goals and limits (Hertel et al., 2005). Remote employees must set personal goals and meet them without close supervision (Hertel et al., 2005; Macduffie, 2007; Nurmi, 2011). Leaders can encourage and reward autonomy and self-advocacy, encouraging and leading to self-leadership. E-leaders can help remote workers set goals and limits and allow remote employees to work independently.
Autonomy is associated with trust, self-advocacy, and coping skills. The remote worker must possess coping skills, self-advocacy, and the ability to set goals and limits. Autonomy was shown to encourage the ability to self-lead. The correlation may be due to increased trust given by the leader. Therefore, trusting remote employees may promote and increase the capacity to self-lead.
Remote workers must work autonomously (Horwitz et al., 2006). “Autonomy from the parent organization led to higher performance” (Hertel et al., 2005, p. 82).“Differing levels of worker autonomy are reflected in the level of trust held by employers” (Clear and Dickson, 2005, p. 227). This may explain why some employees are given more autonomy than other employees. The remote worker must be able to work independently, and e-leaders must encourage autonomy and self-leadership. Researchers found a significant relationship between autonomy, learning, and engagement. Autonomy leads to positive outcomes, including work motivation and job performance (Grant et 95 et al., 2013). Autonomy can lead to the ability to self-advocate and eventually self-lead (Van Kortenhof, 2013).
Self-leadership skills are critical for avoiding overloading work situations (Hertel et al., 2005; Nurmi, 2011). Self-leadership skills include setting clear personal goals and limits (Macduffie, 2007). Self-leadership requires that an employee be a self-starter (Hertel et al., 2005), and remote employees must set personal goals and meet them without close supervision (Macduffie, 2007; Nurmi, 2011). Increasing remote workers’ ability to self-lead may alleviate some of the burdens on e-leaders and the remote workers that know to set limits and self-advocate.
Employees with good self-leadership skills were better able to cope with strain, possibly due to their ability and willingness to prioritize their workload (Nurmi, 2011). Employees identified the need to develop self-advocacy skills and express their needs to their leaders and other coworkers (Macduffie, 2007; McNaughton et al., 2013; Nurmi, 2011). By prioritizing workloads and self-advocating, self-leadership allows teleworkers to better cope with the strain. Self-leadership increases motivation and discourages procrastination.
Relationship-based leadership is most effective when leading remote workers. This includes transformational, empathetic, authentic, and servant leadership. These types of leadership encourage trust. This trust can allow remote workers to thrive and lead themselves when away from the office.
Be good to yourself; we are all in this together.
Be good to yourself—remember that even Superman sleeps. Even superheroes must take time to sleep. The Bible states that the Lord rested on the seventh day. Taking care of yourself and practicing good self-care, seems like common sense and an easy thing to do. However, it is usually the first thing that is sacrificed in times of crisis, stress, intensity, or when we are extremely busy. Yet, self-care is vital for our health and performance. We cannot pour from an empty cup. You must have the energy to give energy, you must have the wisdom to share wisdom, and you must have the strength to give your team strength.
A recent Project Management Times article states that project management is one of the most stressful jobs out there. The pressure is constant to finish on time and under budget while keeping all stakeholders happy. The success or failure of a project depends on the abilities of the project manager. The hours are long and difficult. Our fun, hobbies, free time, and fun are the first activities that we let go of and sacrifice when things get too busy.
The project manager must be in a good place mentally and physically if they are to lead others properly. Stress can impact your cognitive abilities and behavioral functioning. It can even impact your personal health and the happiness of your family. Stress can hurt the ability to be creative. These are all areas of the self that are necessary for appropriate performance as a project manager.
Therefore, it is vital that self-care be a priority. Self-care improves productivity and problem-solving abilities. It improves our ability to form and maintain strong relationships. Project managers may need to advocate for themselves or stand up for themselves to ensure that they are given the time necessary for self-care.
Recommendations for self-care:
Remember to protect your greatest project. You need to take time and mental space away from your work projects to be successful and give your best effort and performance. Your success hinges on your ability to take care of yourself.
Remember, be good to yourself, even Superman sleeps.
As we travel from day to day and week to week, Now consider this, are you giving yourself your full attention and best effort?
Remember to spread knowledge, love, kindness, compassion, support, and care as far as it can go.