Kaizen is a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. Japanese businesses first practised it after WWII, and the principles have since spread around the world with one of the most notable successes being Toyota where they incorporated it into "The Toyota Way".
I was reminded recently about this concept when working with one of my clients. At the time, we had been reviewing his 360 feedback from peers and colleagues. The driven, successful professional was perceived to celebrate success rarely and would routinely be asking "...yes, but what's next?" after project goals were achieved or businesses hit their budgets.
Exploring this point, we discussed several internal and external factors, especially the need to show empathy with his hard-working colleagues. Appreciating the hard-fought battles that take place as part of the typical business week can be crucial. Celebrating success is essential for morale and the public recognition that we all implicitly seek.
This insatiable desire to achieve more, move onto the next thing, seek out the next win will be familiar to entrepreneurs or professionals rapidly progressing through the ranks of their professional or financial services firms. Often they will be unaware of the need to reward and compliment their teams, something that I have written out before https://www.rylncoaching.com/post/be-fans-of-your-teams, by doing so they will enhance the bonding of team members to each other and the goals of the team and hence they will go the extra mile for you. It is an essential element in building high-performing teams and differentiating from a functional one.
Pleased but not satisfied
One of my favourite management books is "PLEASED BUT NOT SATISFIED" by D.L. SOKOL. It is a physically small book, a refreshing change coming in at less than 150 pages. Yet the messages it contains hit the mark:
"When we review progress against our goals, we do not allow phrases like "in progress" to be utilised."
"Verifying that a plan is being executed properly and all activities are on budget and schedule is not micromanaging, it is MANAGING. Assuming something is happening is a cop-out."
Pleased but not satisfied as a mindset and default approach is pragmatic and yet allows plenty of opportunities to celebrate and reward wins. The driven professional can go a long way by adopting this mindset, developing the self-awareness, empathising with colleagues by celebrating and congratulating them, and changing from "yes, but..." to "pleased, but not satisfied."
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