Systems that are internally consistent and externally pragmatic stem from just a few rules. Systems with exceedingly many rules typically fail or will not endure. This is true for Kaizen.
- Most mathematical truths stem from just a few axioms
- Music stems from just a handful of finite notes
- Most Martial Arts stem from a few principles of angle, attack, force, etc.
This same approach is true for Kaizen. In Kaizen, it is important to have fidelity to just a few atomic rules, from which a range of behavior will originate. Below are the rules that I subscribe to:
These four atomic rules collectively form constraints, leading to some creative tension. For example,
- We will be compelled to use creativity
- We will be compelled toward elegance
- We will be compelled to respect people
- We will be compelled to question the status quo
- We will be compelled to think “we can, if…” instead of “we can’t because…”
- We will be compelled to focus on processes, instead of finger-pointing at others
- We will be compelled to make many small improvements, instead of big, water-shed changes that take a lot of time and resources
- We will be compelled to seek the collective wisdom of many people, instead of a few, select heroes
In a tough economic climate in which we all find ourselves, a Kaizen worldview is needed more now than ever.