Fri | Jan 18, 2019

In-School Productivity Campaign | Changing for the better

Published:Monday | February 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Sandrea Dennis

Personal growth and development often requires us to drop habits we've practised during our formative years and adopt new ones during our adult lives. But this can be extremely difficult.

Many of us would have found our knack and rhythm by the time we got to high school and, no doubt, we would have been good at it. When life now asks us to transition from our robustly developed pattern of existence, we usually get terribly thrown out of whack. But in order to be successful, we must appease the demands of the whimsically 'real world' and continually adjust our attitudes to yield more productive behaviours.

The famous KAIZEN, a Japanese philosophy that means continuous improvement and changing for better, encourages us to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today. It purports a deliberate and incremental approach towards making behavioural adjustments for improved results.

According to The Kaizen Institute, Kaizen was first introduced to the world in 1986 by a Swiss management guru called Masaaki Imai. While Kaizen specifically speaks to economic viability in business, we have found that it can, no doubt, be applied to personal and educational advancement.




So here are the top 10 basic principles of Kaizen to guide you through your continuous improvement journey. Apply these to everyday life and see the wonders they create for personal and professional productivity - effective and efficient modus operandi.

1. There are new and more innovative ways to do things. Learn a thing or two and let go of those chronic old habits. Embrace knowledge, embrace change.

2. Too much energy is expelled on blaming others for what has gone wrong. Take responsibility, find root cause and then take corrective action. Time wasted on mulling over spilled milk can never be regained.

3. Think, see and speak positively. Negative energy drains you and those around you of creativity and substance.

4. Don't wait to be perfect. Any improvement places you closer to better results. Take it one step at a time.

5. As soon as you have made a mistake, correct it. You utilise much more energy and other resources trying to solve a compounded problem.

6. Think before you spend. Not every problem must be solved by spending money. In many cases, a little creativity goes a long way.

7. Don't focus on the results. Focus on the processes. Once the processes are correct, the results usually follow suit. If this is not the case, look at the quality of your inputs.

8. Take wisdom in counsel. Bounce your ideas off people who share and understand your vision and watch them help to bring things to fruition.

9. Take decisions based on facts, not just gut feelings.

10.Get your hands dirty. Lead the change you want to see. Thinking about the change won't make it happen. Do something that will bring the change.

Change is inevitable and according to American Major League Baseball player Leon Brown: "For every positive change you make in your life, something else also changes for the better - it creates a chain reaction." What kind of reaction will you create for 2018?