As Frank Butz passionately reminds us, Kaizen is about people. Yes,
its immediate focus is on improving work processes and business results.
And yes, its method makes a unique contribution to accomplishing this
purpose. But the energy, heart, and lasting benefit of Kaizen are in
enabling people to emerge as productive achievers.
There are three steps people must take to emerge as productive achievers.
First, they must find the one endeavor in life they are truly passionate
about. Second, they must devote themselves fully to realizing the highest
level of achievement to which they are capable. Third, they must think
about each execution of that endeavor and extract from it learning for
further improving their success.
Kaizen enables these activities by providing a framework that supports
people's initial success and their continuous learning. The Kaizen process
described in the Kaizen Desk Reference Standard is a proven producer
of value. Built into it are activities that guide learning and enable
continuing development as a Kaizen leader. If Kaizen excites you, as
we hope it will, it can be the vehicle by which you dedicate yourself
to excellence and grow in your power and capability to produce benefit.
Kaizen makes two demands. First, it requires that you commit yourself
to bettering others as well as yourself because only then will you effectively
engage a team of workers in improving their workplace. And only when
you can think beyond yourself will you recognize all the issues that
affect the production of successful and lasting improvements. Second,
Kaizen demands that you risk failure. Only when you are willing to fail
in the pursuit of excellence will you challengeand work to improvethe
If you can satisfy these requirements, mastering and applying Kaizen
can be your springboard to broader personal success. Once you have taken
performance in any domain to its highest level, you can use the learning
and proficiencies you develop as a basis for transferring your success
to any other arena of human activity.