Working creatively with Kaizen. Creativity in the job is in demand; only it is often thwarted by the conditions in the workplace and within companies upper levels. With some basic elements of the Japanese management method Kaizen you can take countermeasures and work more creatively.
It is a paradox, creativity is now recognised as a factor of success and demanded in the workplace. But if it then wants to get involved in the work, personal blockages and entrepreneurial conditions are often enough to put an end to creativity.
With elements of the Japanese management method Kaizen you can counteract. Because kaizen means above all one thing, the pursuit of constant improvement and that’s good for your creativity.
Improvements are not new. We want to survive on the market, satisfy our customers, prove ourselves on the job and we work on ourselves and our products. At the company level, even with individual departments such as research and development or quality management, or facilities such as the employee suggestion system.
However, Kaizen goes one step further. Its followers know that nothing is as constant as change and that one must remain flexible for these changes. They believe that he who has high quality to offer is, to a reasonable extent, practically by itself a success.
Accordingly, they don’t leave changes and improvements in the hands of individuals but, wherever possible, anchor them throughout the corporate culture and give them an absolute priority.
With the result that the constant search for improvements also makes you work more creatively, in Kaizen or yourself.
It allows you to question the status quo of work content or your own company, not to be satisfies with past achievements and to look for further opportunities. Kaizen prevents operational blindness and shuts down routines. It challenges you to throw out and redesign. Again and again. From day to day.
In other words, writing the motto of continuous improvement helps you to pursue your activity with a creative attitude.
So, improving things is good for your creativity. But he who wants to improve some things must also change something. And change always means risk. One no longer follows the prescribed and proven paths, but searches for new ones step by step. That can lead to mistakes or even setbacks.
If you want to avoid mistakes and failures at any cost, that’s a prime block for your creativity. Those who don’t dare to redesign for fear of mistakes are rarely creative.
Instead, embrace the view of Kaizen. Because in the Kaizen one assumes that anyway everything is heading from the beginning to its decay, its end. And that you can only save things by continually renewing and improving them.
In other words, there is no perfect status quo and mistakes that threaten it. The status quo itself, or whoever rests on it, is always in danger.
So it’s better to risk mistakes to keep the system alive than to do nothing and condemn the system to destruction. It doesn’t matter if this is your own company, operating processes within the company or your market value on the job market.
Allow yourself and your employees mistakes. Not because you kindly tolerate them. But because they are necessary and part of an improvement process. They are valuable experiences. At least when you learn from them.
It is typical of our Western culture’s thinking that we often associate creativity with innovation, new developments, big breakthroughs. Spectacular events cost a lot of time and money if we don’t restrict it to the artist’s corner right away.
In Kaizen, creativity is not spectacular. It’s slow, almost insidious, imperceptible. It improves a bit and rebuilds a bit. Kaizen attaches importance to continuous small steps, not the big throw.
Not infrequently, however, it is precisely these small steps that make the big changes possible. And, these small steps also lower the hurdle for your creativity.
Because in Kaizen you are looking for solutions, not perfect solutions.
The high standards and expectations, with which we often slow ourselves and our creativity down, find significantly less food here. You are not only creative when you invent the product of the year. But with every little step that advances you and your work, your business.
Therefore, don’t wait until you come across the perfect solution. He who delays the creation and shaping, until the big catch is in sight, does creativity a disservice.
Nor as Kaizen relies on innovation, is it a matter of big investments or smart minds. Kaizen starts with what’s there and helps make the most of it.
It starts with the employees, their room to manoeuvre increases to be able to make improvements independently. Their qualifications ensure that they can use this room to manoeuvre.
That doesn’t only create an environment in which employees can work independently. It also creates an environment in which creativity can unfold.
Because if there is poison for our creativity, it is
strict rules that prevent questioning,
fixed specifications that make better alternatives impossible,
Pressure and control make searches for solutions compulsive.
We only work creatively if we are allowed to express our creativity and contribute to the job. When we can shape, create, change, try and discard.
In this sense, don’t take your employees by the reins, but show them the direction. Let them perform their daily work curiously and playfully. Give them the responsibility that challenges them and the knowledge that will help them. And let yourself be surprised by a stream of creative ideas.
And if you are an employee yourself? Then you are looking for every opportunity to make work contents autonomous, and no matter how small. Your creativity will thank you.
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