Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Using Kaizen to build habits

There is a piece of 1980s thinking that can really help us tackle difficult tasks. It works well when we are trying to build new habits, tackling work that we are finding it hard to start, minimises procrastination, and aids us with reflection. The thinking is Kaizen.

Kaizen is the brain child of Japanese management consultant, Masaaki Imai. Imai San is best known for his work in quality management and continuous improvement at Toyota, which is where Kaizen sprang from. Focusing on the incremental, deliberate building of habits led to him formalising his model, philosophy, systems and tools; founding the Kaizen Institute Consulting Group; writing two books; and spending a lifetime assisting organisations to use Kaizen. The term Kaizen in Japanese implies that continuous improvement will take time: that this is a slow build on the path to enlightenment.

The Kaizen philosophy can help us change our habits, using the tool, the one minute principle. What we do is to practice doing the task that we want to master at the same time every day. For just one minute, and no more. The idea is that by completing daily tiny steps, we will slowly move to mastery. Because taking one minute requires very little effort, it is not so difficult to do.

Each day's small victory gives us the impetus to keep doing our daily practice. Each day we complete is another step on the path to building a habit. When we cluster a set of one minute habits, we will find that we could, over time, have: an entire workout made up of many things we have practiced for a minute (think Tai Chi!); revised an entire course; learned a new language; learned a musical instrument; kept up a diary.

I am a fan for starting small and building.


Sam

No comments :

Post a Comment