by Michael Darling
A strong organization is in the best position to protect your career in today's economic marketplace.
If it’s financially successful, your paycheck is more secure. If it keeps getting better and better in the way it does business, your future usually gets brighter.
But the organization can’t improve unless it’s people do, whether it’s in operational savy, sales ability, computer expertise or placement effectiveness.
Continuous improvement - the Japanese call it “KAIZEN “ - offers some of the best insurance for both your career and the organization. KAIZEN (pronounced ky-zen) is the relentless quest for a better way, for higher quality craftsmanship.
Think of it as the daily pursuit of perfection.
KAIZEN keeps you reaching, stretching to outdo yesterday. The continuous improvements may come bit by bit. But, enough of these small, incremental gains will eventually add up to a significant, valuable competitive advantage. Also, if every employee constantly keeps an eye out for improvements, major innovations are likely to occur. Higher levels sometimes lose perception of what’s going on in the “trenches” because they aren’t in them every day. Good companies realize that and encourage feedback from staff. The spirit of KAIZEN can trigger dramatic breakthroughs, whether it be redesigning a simple form or developing new company protocols.
Without KAIZEN, you and your employer WILL both gradually lose ground.
Eventually, you’ll both be “out of business” because the competition NEVER, EVER stands still. EVER.
Tom Peters put it this way: “Good quality is a stupid idea. The only thing that counts is your quality getting better at a more rapid rate than your principal competitors.
It’s real simple. If we’re not getting more, better, faster than THEY are getting more, better, faster, than we’re getting less better and more worse.
NOBODY can afford to rest on a reputation today. Circumstances change too quickly today. Competition gets tougher and more global all the time.
What we consider “good” today is seen as “average” by tomorrow.
Every single employee should assume personal responsibility for upgrading job performance. Your productivity, response time, quality, cost control, and customer service should all show steady gains. And your skills should be in a state of constant renewal.
Granted, this drive toward an ever-improving performance doesn’t guarantee job security, raises or promotions. It’s just not feasible in today’s business climate.
You still can be a victim of circumstances, even in strong, financially successful organizations.
But if you passionately practiced KAIZEN, you’ll have built your competency level. Your track record will help sell you and let you make your own good luck!
Thanks for reading!