Raving or Raging? Lesson #2 – Kaizen

Hands:notepad I returned to Syrus’ office at the appointed time a week later to find him at his desk with notepad ready. He was eager to share. “I had an insight of my own over the last week,” he said. “I reflected back over my last five years in the company and realized that you were right. People aren’t motivated by being told what to do‘. I flashed on incidents that have occurred and saw the subtlety of resistance and sabotage that occurs when people aren’t fully engaged in their own process.” Syrus hesitated. “I’m just not sure how to approach making the shift in a consistent manner.”

I was obviously puzzled. “What do you mean by, ‘consistent manner’?”

“You know,” he said, “It’s the follow-up and follow-through stuff that I’m not good at. I’ve gotten people involved in fits and starts. But I’ve never really carried through on the process. In fact, I’m not sure that I even know how to do that,” he said finally.

“That’s why I’m here, Syrus,” I reassured. “But again, we’re going to take it a step at a time. And this step is called KAIZEN.”

Syrus asked for the spelling and wrote the word KAIZEN on his notepad. “What is it and what do I need to do?” he asked.

Kazen is constant never-ending improvement,” I answered. “And we’ll chunk your action plan into Kaizensmall achievable action steps.”

Step #1: Call a meeting with all of your department heads.

Step #2:Frame the conversation by giving them an overview of what we’re doing and why including the morale issue the company is facing and why you think that might be the case. Explain that the goal is to get people involved and motivated so that team members experience a stronger sense of ownership regarding their work and the company.

Step #3: Ask them to meet with their team members and engage them in a conversation around the following two questions:

  1. What are we doing in our department that is really working well. In other words, what do we do well?
  2. What do you feel we could improve in and do better at? Or, where are we lacking and where do we need to improve?

Step #4: Ask your team to generate two lists and bring the lists to your next meeting with them. Then set a date for the next meeting. It should be within 2 weeks of your first meeting to enhance the sense of urgency.

With that said, Syrus and I adjourned. I set an appointment with his secretary to reconvene in 10 days so that I could give Syrus the next step for his team before he met with them a second time.

To Be Continued…


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