Kaizen Consulting and Leadership

15 Dec, 2023 | By leslie@leanexpansion.ca

As a Kaizen Consultant, one of my goals is to bring a philosophy and methodology of never-ending improvement to companies—and their leaders.

When it comes to tackling problems, whether it’s creating customer satisfaction or resolving manufacturing bottlenecks, one of the most fundamental philosophies of kaizen is getting to the root of the problem. When I began my career as a Kaizen Consultant over twenty years ago, the most valuable lesson I learned was to go and see. It’s important to go right to the heart of the problem, where it’s occurring and trace it back to its source.

The interconnected nature of large businesses means complexities may occur anywhere. Problems and bottlenecks can originate from different departments: safety, logistics, legal, etc. Whatever the cause, delays can cause a domino effect impacting throughput and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.

Once a problem is identified, the kaizen leader welcomes suggestions from all levels. It doesn’t matter if it’s senior management or a frontline member of customer service. When a plan of action is agreed upon, the whole team works to remove impediments and make it happen. Everyone from the customer-facing team member to the CEO is involved. It’s this alignment that makes kaizen a powerful tool to continually grow, scale, and improve.

Kaizen is a powerful tool for any organization aiming to increase employee engagement, enthusiasm, and creativity. Stepping away from the traditional waterfall structure of hierarchical management and giving team members a voice is a powerful solution for increasing productivity and enthusiasm at every level. As a team becomes immersed in kaizen culture, workers become willing to share ideas, opinions, and criticism—the hallmark of a healthy culture.

Kaizen strengthens organizations from the inside out, and leaders may use it as a tool to achieve several important goals:

  • Introducing change – getting staff on board with sweeping changes can be tough. Kaizen normalizes small, ongoing changes, making it easier for teams to accept and adapt.
  • Optimizes time and reduces waste – kaizen reduces process errors, saving time and resources on costly mistakes and corrections.
  • Workplace detox – in a kaizen workplace, team members have a stake and a voice, which increases purpose, engagement, and accountability
  • Increases teamwork – collaboration and accountability boost teamwork; employees take an active role in process improvement and work together to achieve shared goals

Today,  global companies like Toyota, Honda, Sony, Toshiba, Canon, and Nissan rely on kaizen. Its advantage is it allows companies to optimize workflows, reduce waste, and stay competitive in rapidly changing markets.

Reach out to kaizen consultant Leslie Barker to learn more about the benefits—and how kaizen can play a role in transforming and strengthening an organization in any industry.