Kaizen should be at the heart of every business and organisation’s operating model. After all, who could deny the appeal of Émile Coué’s* affirmation:
‘Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.’
But personal affirmations on their own, they don’t create change.
Kaizen does. It translates from the Japanese as change (kai) for the good (zen). And it comes with action. So, what is the origin of this big idea, and how can you implement Kaizen in your organisation?
Marketing is about making potential customers aware of your products or services. And the Marketing Mix is how you balance your investments across different ways to achieve this.
As recently as 100 years ago, marketing was hardly practised and didn’t have a name. Yet now, with so much choice of things to buy, businesses need to get our attention and grab our interest. They need to find ways to create a market for goods that our great grand-parents couldn’t have conceived of, let alone needed. So what are the different strategies they can use to do this? That’s the Marketing Mix.
Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is now increasingly referred to as Learning Needs Analysis (LNA). This is a reflection of the far wider range of options for how we learn at work. But, regardless of terminology, just what is Training Needs Analysis, and how can you do carry it out?
At the heart of this Big Idea is a recognition that we all need to learn new stuff, to improve our work performance. Life-long learning is a good thing in itself. But as job roles change, and as we move through our careers, it is a necessary part of working life too. So, Training Needs Analysis does what its name implies: it is an analysis of the training or learning we need, to do our job (or our next job) as well as possible.
When the idea of Monkey Management first appeared in 1974, it was a big hit. And, rightly so. It clarifies how managers easily get drawn into over-work, and sets out rules for how they can avoid it.
The Monkey Management idea comes from William Oncken Jr. It first emerged in one of the most-requested Harvard Business Review articles. He then revised the details when it became the subject of one of the best-selling One Minute Manager books.
No self-respecting manager can afford to be unaware of the principles of Monkey Management. So, let’s take a look at it.
Some big ideas have become commonplace, and everyone understands them. Others have become commonplace terms, which we often misuse. Lateral Thinking is one example of the latter. Yet it’s had a big impact over the last fifty years and will, I suspect, continue to do so over the next fifty.
Lateral Thinking is the brainchild of Maltese thinker and educator, Edward de Bono. It first appeared in his short 1967 book, ‘The Use of Lateral Thinking’. And it’s currently still in print, as ‘Lateral Thinking: An Introduction’(US|UK). But since then, he’s written a whole library on this and related topics.
Waste is a bad thing. So, any wise manager will do well to eliminate it. You just need to know where to look. One of the many contributions of Taiichi Ohno and his Toyota Production System (TPS) was to catalogue 7 Wastes that we need to eliminate.
The 7 Wastes are now a fundamental part of the concept of lean thinking; whether applied to manufacturing, services, or public administration. By understanding them, you can make just about any process more efficient.
When you want to create something big, new, and complex, how do you keep all your tasks, time, and resources under control? The answer is Project Management.
We’ll never have the documentary evidence to prove it, but my assertion is that the discipline of Project Management goes back thousands of years. But even today, practice is evolving. In a world that is changing faster than ever, Project Management is a profession and a toolset that is becoming ever more valuable.
When two people cannot resolve a disagreement for themselves, they need a third person to get involved. And in the escalation from a friendly nudge up to the judicial system, mediation is the first formal step.
And, since conflict is common in organisations, it’s as well to understand what mediation can and cannot offer, when to use it, and how to make it effective.
Why do you get up every morning? Is it out of a sense of obligation, duty, or even compulsion? Or is it ikigai?
In Japanese culture, ikigai is a reason for getting up in the morning. it is the meaning to your life and your reason for being. It is your ‘raison d’être’, but in a more profound sense than English speakers commonly use that French phrase.
Ikigai is a big idea for English speakers, because we don’t have our own word, but the concept is important.
Who am I to be writing this article? I’m not a psychologist. I don’t know about this stuff. I’m just a hack who reads , reflects, and re-writes. I feel like a fraud… Yup, you guessed it: that’s imposter syndrome.
If you have ever felt inadequate for the task you’ve been given… Or, if you have felt like a fraud among other, better qualified people… chances are you weren’t. What you are feeling is the near-universal effects of what is commonly known as imposter syndrome.