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The Kaizen Way – The Teasdale Way

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Hello Universe, I have something to say…

Before I get started, I want to come clean that I have contributed to the E-Web blog the least compared to some of our other more committed and extroverted SEM experts, so a big shout out to those that do and openly and repeatedly share their great topics, articles and insights with the incredible audience of the E-Web Marketing blog. This is my first ‘small step’ into sharing and improving my own efforts in this area.

To give you some background: E-Webbers follow a unique set of core values, one of them being ‘Pursue Growth and Learning’. A sub-point of this value is ‘We accept the responsibility to share experiences, knowledge and ideas to foster greater communication, interaction and growth’.

My reference to ‘small steps’ above is a prelude to the experience I wanted to share today. It all started with an E-Web colleague (CEO, Gary Ng) recommending a book to me titled The Kaizen Way, by Dr Robert Maurer.

The Book

As Gary handed me The Kaizen Way I gave it a snobby look, judging its limited weight and size, and the cheesy front cover with a picture of a maze and the tagline ‘One small step can change your life’. Yeah, right! I said to myself. As an avid reader or self-improvement books, I was apprehensive to say the least. But I was also humbled, as I know that Gary doesn’t do something without a plan or a long term reason. He’d also let me know I was the first and only person whom he’d given a copy.

I opened the book and one page before the contents was a blank page with a quote from Mother Theresa. When I read the quote something fundamentally clicked: apprehension gone, snobby look faded to that dumb curious look you get where your eyebrows raise and you do that nodding thing and the sides of your mouth drop. I now had this overwhelming feeling of trust that Gary had set me on the right track.

QUOTE: “Small things with great love….It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing. And it’s not how much we give but how much love we put into the giving. There is nothing small” – Mother Theresa

I finished the book in two days which is near record time for me. I haven’t been this captivated by a book since my undying affair with The 360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell. The reason I was sold was not because I’m a natural practitioner of Kaizen methodology, in fact I’m the complete opposite. Reading the book identified to me in plain English that I need to slow down, take my time, let the moment happen and concentrate on the small steps, small ideas and set real achievable day to day plans in my work and personal life.

So let’s get into the guts of it! The first few chapters go into story about a physician who helped and changed the life of a single mother who was unhealthy, poor, and almost jobless. It then goes into how this physician used Kaizen techniques to turn this person’s life around, just by setting the smallest most achievable goal for her to reach (you have to read to get how and why, this is just the hook).

What I really liked is the book’s focus on how innovation, quick thinking, heat of the moment mentality and big bright ideas are the ones that generally make the most noise – and have the highest failure rate! OMG that is me in a nutshell. Well maybe not the whole failure part, but I admit that my ideas have failed before and more than I am comfortable with. After reading that it goes straight into how it’s the little baby realistic and quiet ideas, that when done and planned carefully, have huge success and provide big results and rewards. That is the Kaizen way.

The book details how the Kaizen way and innovation have been mortal enemies for many centuries. Here is a quote from the book “Where innovation demands shocking and radical reform, all kaizen asks is that you take small, comfortable steps toward improvement.” And that’s what it is all about.

Applying the Kaizen Way

The Kaizen Way advocates ‘STARTING OVER’, which is what I’m doing. I have three personal challenges currently running:

1. Using the Kaizen Way to improve my close personal relationships

2. Using the Kaizen Way gain better results in my professional performance and learning

3. Using the Kaizen way to see if I can attract more positivity and attention from my friends, peers, work colleagues and girlfriend

When the going gets tough and I wonder if I’m doing it correctly, all I have to do is follow the simple Kaizen techniques. Just like it says on the back cover, ask small questions, think small thoughts, take little genuine actions and solve small problems one at a time. If you ever want to know how I am going with the challenges or what they are, take a small step and just call or email, or ask yourself what you would do if you were me.

Back to the book … once I finished reading, I emailed Gary that I was surprised he had not shared this with the company. I then realized that this was innovation, the opposite of Kaizen! E-Web is too big and too bright for a book like The Kaizen Way to sink in and be effective. Gary had followed the Kaizen way just by recommending to me, one person.

Here is Gary’s response to my email:

“I’m glad that you enjoyed your book. If you want me to further help you, I will ask you to do one thing for me. I want you to write about this in a blog entry (or something similar, so you can reflect upon all your past learning, as opposed to email), on how you can utilize this information for you to grow personally and professionally.”

Enough said, who’s next? It’s on my desk or on Amazon for $12 http://www.amazon.com/Small-Step-Change-Your-Life/dp/0761129235

Thanks for reading guys, the next small step is to do one more blog post next month about my running challenges. Until then, I hope you find the Kaizen way within you!

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2 Comments

  1. Stefan Reply

    Very inspiring post! You’ve made me realise how such a simple concept can change us for the better as we tend to try make huge changes and not succeed, and give up — I personally overlook the smaller things at times and go for the most ambitious items. I’ll definitely give the book a good read. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Matthew Forzan Reply

    Stefan pretty much said my thoughts, but great post Mick – your writing style is engaging and fun which is what’s gonna grab em’ – you’ve made me want to read this book NOW!

    I’ll add to your post with a quote:
    – “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu”

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