The Key to a Great Kaizen is a Good Kaizen Prep

Kaizen is the tool that creates a step change for an organization not only in the improvement of their operating systems, but in engaging the hearts and minds of the team.  A great kaizen can not only make the organization operate better but can capture the hearts of the participants in a way that genuinely improves the way they view work.

Unfortunately a poor kaizen can do the opposite.  Not only can it fall short of true change but it can demoralize a team and create a culture of mistrust and disappointment.

The difference between a great kaizen and a disappointing kaizen often comes down to an overlooked step – a good kaizen preparation.

A Good Kaizen Prep(aration)

“A kaizen event without physical actions that change the operating system is like a cocktail party without drinks.” – unknown executive

Great kaizens end with a new system and process in place.  That requires preparation for the new process and system.

The preparation should be conducted by the team who will lead the kaizen and include observations of the current condition, documentation of waste, goals for ideas that will be generated and ideas that will be implemented.

The preparation team should be ready with physical items that may need purchased to implement change in the event.  The environment and schedules for the equipment should be altered to allow the participants in the event to make observations and have time to make physical change.

The correct resources should plan to be available to make the changes   The work area  for the team should be prepared and the kickoff and wrap-up meetings scheduled with key leaders.

All of this preparation is designed to facilitate an environment where change can be tested and implemented DURINGthe event and not left as a “to do” list in the end.

That is not to say that all of the ideas should be predetermined.  The kaizen itself is designed to get the creative input from the participants. But it is to say that every effort should be made to be ready to implement ideas in the moment, as experiments, and with the idea of leaving real change in place as the end.

Help your organization make a step change in the way the business is run and how the participants feel about work.  It starts with being prepared to make the change!

Brian Mansure

Brian Mansure

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