People need hope, they need wins, they need kaizen

February 14, 2017 | News Brazil
Sometimes, business is tough. Sometimes, products are undersold, markets reverse, competition is unduly aggressive. Sometimes core technologies change. When the company hits troubled waters, people can find themselves working very hard just to stay afloat, stuck in a “Red Queen” race: run so that you stay in the same place.
It’s exhausting. People need hope to feel motivated, and they need confidence in themselves, their officers and their near future to stay engaged. People need wins.
There are time when these wins are simply not coming because adverse circumstances last longer than we’d expect. We all know that the main factor of success is resilience and that, in Churchillian terms, the trick is to never, never give up.
But how to convey this sentiment across the board when money is tight and wins few?
Kaizen projects can be successful even if the overall results are grim. Kaizen, projects are about identifying one thing we could do better, studying closely how we currently work, thinking through what we could do differently, testing it and convincing colleagues (and, ahem, management), implementing the change so it sticks and evaluation the new way of working.
A good kaizen project can be a collaborative win, even if the overall deal has turned sour. It brings people’s creative minds together. It offers the opportunity for management to show their appreciation of every one’s work – it’s difficult for management to praise people for bad business results, but much easier to recognize a good improvement effort. It brings hope.
And who knows? Maybe if we do enough kaizening, everywhere, all the time with every one, we will create the impetus and find the new ideas to turn the situation around, or, at the very least, to endure?

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