In general, Kaizen is manifested in an organization via the following characteristics:
- Total company involvement
- Small improvements, but many of them, steady, over a long period of time
- Improvements are measured, in careful experimentation using PDCA
Given the above characteristics of Kaizen, one could easily apply it to ones personal life and not just business.
Enter Kaizen Swimming.
Kaizen swimming is a group based on the principles of Kaizen and applied to the sport of swimming. Here’s how they describe themselves:
Welcome to the web site of KAIZEN SWIMMING, one of the finest USA Swimming teams in the southwest United States. We took our name from the Kaizen Method which is Japanese quality control concept for continuous improvement. Kaizen is also a way-of-life philosophy. Key elements of the Kaizen philosophy are quality, effort, involvement of everyone in the group (home, team, company, society), willingness to change and communication. Kaizen means literally: change (kai) to become good (zen).
The mission of KAIZEN SWIMMING is:
To provide the youth of the Tri-State area with the opportunity to pursue the sport of competitive swimming to the full extent of their ability and desire. We are committed to providing our athletes, no matter how talented or motivated, with the tools necessary to reach their maximum potential. Our swimmers learn how to set goals and then are coached according to those goals. We do not set out to produce champions but rather an environment where champions are inevitable. Key elements of our team culture include:
- Patience. No one is expected to be perfect but everyone is expected to get better (including the coaches).
- A positive environment. No one is allowed to be needlessly negative or mean and everyone is treated with respect.
- Excellence. Anything worth doing is worth doing right and every member of the team will be challenged to always do their best.
- Long-term success. The staff of KAIZEN SWIMMING will never risk the long-term development of the swimmer for short-term success.
At KAIZEN SWIMMING the goal is constant improvement, whether you’re an 8 year old beginner, an 18 year old champion or a 60 year old master. Improvement as a swimmer, but more importantly, as a person.
Yes, as a philosophy and way of life, Kaizen has many applications outside of business.