a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.
Successful Entrepreneurs may not use this term in their day to day activities; management meetings, networking conversations, brainstorming sessions or while working on their next big idea. But most Entrepreneurs practice the art of kaizen to some degree in their business; the more successful Entrepreneurs practice kaizen more. They practice it consistently and across multiple areas of their business.
I see the philosophy of kaizen at work alongside their innate passion for their business. This passion drives their need to find solutions to their problems, to make the business better, to make it more than it is. Over the years I have come to recognize that in most of these highly passionate individuals the practice of kaizen is unconscious, they just can’t help themselves. They are driven by the need to create something great.
These are the business owners who constantly ask “What next?” “What can I do to improve my business/product/service?”
I have observed the most successful of these Kaizen Entrepreneurs rely on their networks; for advice, for resources and even for help accomplishing their goals. They are quicker than other business owners to recognize where and when help is needed. They are aware when they are not the best person for the job at hand and are open to outsourcing solutions. Maybe they are more self-aware than other Entrepreneurs; personally I think they are mostly just less patient.
I believe that when they recognize an area that could or should be improved in some significant way, they want it done yesterday. This impatience for improvement and solutions leaves them less willing to spend the time it would take them to learn how to do it themselves. Less willing to go through the trial and error it would take to get up the learning curve and then implement the solutions themselves.
Realizing they are only able to work on one thing at a time and be in one place at a time their impatience makes them quicker to see the value in reaching out to their network of trusted resources. It makes them more open to hiring someone with the expertise and skill necessary to implement the changes. It makes them more likely to be on the leading edge of innovation and customer satisfaction in their industry.
This impatience impacts their approach to the practice of kaizen in their business. Fueled by their network of trusted resources and outsourced expertise they implement improvements at a pace that leaves their competition in the dust continuously improving their way to the top.
Other Entrepreneurs practice the DIY approach to building their business; this too is a form of kaizen, one of slow continuous improvement. Believing they are saving money or somehow super human and able to accomplish all things needed by a successful business today, they tweak and adjust, correct and adjust again.
While the DIY Entrepreneur works long stressful days and nights wearing the many hats of a growing business the Impatient Kaizen Entrepreneur identifies necessary improvements, gathers their team of experts, and executes their way to the top.
How do you practice the art of kaizen in your business?
Have you outsourced a necessary solution and how did it help your business grow?
Written by Suzanne Lyon Mollerud