“Kaizen–The Art of Small”

I’m reading a book right now called, “Start Something That Matters,” by a gentleman named Blake Mycoskie.  He’s the guy who started the company—TOM’S Shoes.  Basically, for every pair of shoes he sells, he gives a pair away to children who have no shoes in South America!  What a noble cause!!!

To date, over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes have been given to children under the One-for-One movement since TOMS launched in 2006.

In the book, he details how he started the company and how people like you and me can do similar things.

He based his company on taking small steps.

On page 62, he goes into a little detail about a Japanese concept known at kaizen.

“Small improvements made every day will lead to massive improvement overall.  The idea was made famous in the 1980’s by Japanese car manufacturers, who very slowly but surely established a dominate position in the American automobile market by adding small improvements to their vehicles rather than introducing revolutionary innovation.  When you keep this concept in mind, reaching big goals seems much less scary.”

 This reminded me of another book I read several years ago called “The Slight Edge,” by a gentleman named Jeff Olson.  It was literally one of the best; most practical books I’ve ever read and it opened my eyes to the fact that very small actions, taken over time can produce some amazing results.

Jeff said this: 

“IN THE PROCESS OF LEARNING HOW TO WALK, you probably spent more time failing than you did succeeding. But did you ever have the thought of quitting? Did you ever tell yourself, “I’m not cut out for walking—guess I’ll crawl for the rest of my life?” No, of course you didn’t. So, why do you do that now?

What’s different today with any goal you want and desire you have for accomplishing anything? When did you lose the ability to make a goal, go for it, and get it? How come you don’t do what you did when you were one or two years old?

The answer is alarming, yet simple:

Somewhere along the way in your life, you became unwilling to take baby steps. You lost faith in the universal truth that the simple little disciplines done again and again over time would move the mightiest mountains.”

So my question for you is this—Where can you begin taking some small steps in your life, on a day-by-day basis?  What little action could you take today that would make all the difference?

Think in terms of these life categories:  (PS, I coach people on how to take baby steps and set goals in these exact areas.)

  • Career
  • Spiritual
  • Educational
  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Family
  • Social – Relational
  • Fun – Recreational

Think in terms of actions–baby steps…

Let’s see if you can use a little Kaizen and learn to walk again!

(PS: Please feel free to pass this on to a friend!  R-)

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  1. Adam O
    Adam O12-16-2011

    Kaizen…THANKS! I needed one more nugget for the team at our 2012 business plan mtg on Monday. Done! You da man!

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon12-16-2011

      Glad it helped Adam!

  2. Fernando Herboso
    Fernando Herboso12-16-2011

    Well done Robert. .
    Instant results are becoming passe~ Everyone wants everything fast. .yet greater things can be achieved with persistence and discipline with a well crafted astute plan!

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon12-16-2011

      You got that right Fernando! Hope all is well my friend… R-

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