Sometimes change is thrust upon us.
But if we’ve a choice about how we make a change – whether it’s personal, professional, or organisational – kaizen is the way to go.
Kaizen (Japanese for ‘improvement’) is:
a business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.
While kaizen started as a management approach, it has also become a life philosophy that espouses the value of making small, regular changes.
This approach is a wonderful way of maintaining appreciation for and pleasure in the present, while simultaneously being aware of what you can do to improve the situation in future, without letting the ‘improvement’ part dominate and cause constant dissatisfaction.
Not only does this decrease stress and increase wellbeing, but it’s also proven to be a very effective way of achieving and maintaining change.
Change doesn’t have to be painful.
Too often we think that a major overhaul, a serious re-jig, a completely new model is what’s needed…and that a no-holes barred, cold-turkey, painful plan is what it’s going to take to turn everything around.
Sometimes that may be the case.
But generally it’s not the best approach. It sets up a resistance to change, and is the major cause of unhappy stasis, missed goals, and failed resolutions.
Tiny shifts in direction take you somewhere new.
Think of the 1 in 60 rule. Essentially, if you’re flying a plane and are one degree off course, you’ll be one mile off-target for every sixty miles flown.
Of course, this also means that you can choose to make a tiny adjustment, and completely change your destination as a consequence.
The best way to make change
is incrementally, persistently, gently.
In my other life, as a jazz pianist, I’ve learnt that we have what I call ‘digit tics’; our 10 digits all have very different characteristics, which sometimes leads to peculiar, habitual behaviour from them.
For example, the thumb might be clunky, the middle finger could stick out rigidly, the little finger may tend to curl up shyly, or the 4th finger be a bit feeble, and try to get out of playing a note in the hope that another one will do the work!
If you get annoyed at the behaviour in an attempt to change it, you risk setting up a tension that can increase the problem.
Rather, merely notice it.
And ask it to change, consistently and calmly.
Using this approach removes tension, shifts behaviour, builds a new ‘muscular’ memory, and the desired change not only happens, but is also embedded.
So if you’re trying to make change…
Be kind to yourself, be calm, and be kaizen in your approach.
Are you going through professional or organisational change?
Get in touch and find out how we can help you break through the barriers and make the change!