Kaizen is 'continuous improvement' and is a popular subject among businesses and managers. Kaizen means that the best way to affect significant change in an organization is to encourage lots of small, incremental changes that can improve workflow, profit margins, and everything else. By continually improving in small ways, you can create change throughout your whole business, resulting in much more efficient and effective operations.
But kaizen works best when it is applied at the individual level. In other words, if you can help your staff work better on their own and improve the way they approach problems and their regular workload, you can make your entire organization more effective. A chain is as strong as its weakest link, and a business is the sum of its employees.
If you try to come from above as management and enforce continuous improvement, then the chances are that it won't go well. Your staff might be resistant to minor changes, and you might be too far removed from the process to see where the problems are occurring or where things need to be improved.
On the other hand, if you encourage your team to improve themselves, they will be far more motivated and be able to make changes that affect what they're capable of and how much they're getting done.
So how do you encourage this continuous change in your team?
The solution is to give your staff more space and provide them with the environment and the tools they need to improve continuously.
What this means, first and foremost, is that you should create a blame-free environment. Second, this means that your team should feel comfortable trying new methodologies and systems without thinking that you're going to punish them if their new ways of working don't work as well as they should have.
Giving your staff a sense of ownership over their work is also an important step that will motivate them to be better, as is making sure that you aren't micromanaging them to the point where there is no flexibility.
Finally, get your team to monitor and report on their performance and show you how profits or satisfaction are increasing. Again, this shouldn't be used to apply pressure, but monitoring metrics will get the feedback to see what works and what doesn't.