The Benefits of Kaizen

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Hilary Corna on Scaling Up Business Podcast with Bill GallagherAre you getting better every day? Kaizen is a rough translation of ‘change for the better’ and today’s show is all about what it is, how it’s different from other models such as Lean, and how you can achieve Kaizen.

Hilary Corna is the former Senior Executive Office for Toyota in Asia, where she managed a team of people across fourteen different countries as a Change Leader for all of the dealerships in Asia. Hilary is also the author of One White Face, a memoir of her time abroad working for the company.

Hilary studied in Japan and secured a job at Toyota Motors in Singapore after college. She then transferred into a more managerial role in Indonesia where she ran a pilot program with the end-goal of rolling it out throughout all of Toyota Asia’s facilities when it became successful. This is where Hilary learned that it’s important to start small and test and test before scaling up.

Hilary sees first hand how business owners get ‘shiny object syndrome’ with technology. People are constantly looking for bigger and better tools when the simplest tool you can use is pen and paper, or a free technology system, which is what the staff at Toyota use until they can prove results.

Kaizen is about trying to find the root cause or problem within a process as early in the process as possible to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem in the future. Most problems are just problems of problems of problems and Kaizen kills that right from the beginning.

Through Kaizen, it looks directly at the process and takes a real look at why did the process fail in such a way that the team member couldn’t complete the job, not the other way around. So many times upper management puts blame on the employees when really, they might have just been working with a broken and unrealistic system all along.

Kaizen helps shift the mindset of putting blame on others or pointing fingers at those who are responsible and puts a focus on where did the process break down and how can the team fix it so that everyone succeeds.


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Scaling Up is the best-selling book, by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, on how the fastest growing companies succeed where so many others fail. My name is Bill Gallagher, host of the Scaling Up Business podcast and a leading business coach with a Gazelles. We help leadership teams to get the 4 Decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash right so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth success. Our 4 Decisions are all part of the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 (from the original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).

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