Kaizen: the sense of urgency to do good

To develop yourself, you always have to break your status quo. It means that you have to be dissatisfied with how things are – but in a very positive way. I always explain it to my trainees, that they have to develop this courage to break the status quo. And for them to do that, we have to make sure they have clear organizational structure and support – Jun Nakamuro, Officially Endorsed Coach in Taiichi Ohno’s (PEC) Method of TPS and Kaizen, says in an interview for “Production Manager” magazine.

By Przemysław Ozga.

PM: What is ‘the spirit of Kaizen’ in your opinion, Mr Nakamuro? Is there a deep meaning that we, managers from Western cultures, cannot see?

JN: It is a bit difficult to put into words. But there surely is a difference between cultures: the Western culture has a very rational approach, you always reason things. When you look at the Japanese culture, in turn, everything is based on the human instinct. The human instinct is not the same thing as human nature, we have to be clear, and it is also something different from animal instinct; we are humans, so our instinct is different from an animal one. Human instinct works like science, it’s a logical way of getting to results. And as long as everything: theory, principles – I mean principles, not philosophy – is based on human instinct, on its scientific approach, you really get results. But when people start to rationalize the meaning of Kaizen or the roots of TPS, they will never understand it. This is because as long as people have not really experienced Kaizen or TPS, they can never understand them. There is no way that they can reason it or rationalize it, as these systems are based on experience – and these people have no experience to begin with.