Kaizen is Our Way of Life
Jim Collins, author of some truly inspiring business-related books, started his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap….and Others Don’t with this quote:
“Good is the enemy of great.”
What lesson do you think Jim is hoping for us to take away from this quote? I don’t think there is any one right answer here by the way, but I do think it’s evident that he is stressing that we should never settle for just being ‘good’ enough. Put a little differently, if we live the idea of “Good is the enemy of great” at PacSci EMC and Fortive, I can tell you that should mean that working at our company isn’t easy – and probably not for everyone. A conscious choice to continuously improve – never satisfied with being just ‘good’ – requires us to get comfortable with the idea that our challenge is in the never-ending journey towards greatness.
Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Literally translated, the word “kaizen” means “change for better”. So, the spirit of kaizen isn’t at all about us arriving at some destination called great. If you’re the type of person who believes an on-time delivery of 98% is good enough, it’s likely you may find PacSci EMC and Fortive to be companies in which you won’t feel very comfortable. Rather, if you get totally psyched about working for a company that wants to understand every little thing we can do to ensure we can achieve 100% on-time delivery performance month after month after month….you may have just found your own personal heaven.
Our culture is one that is challenging in many ways. It’s not just the goals that are challenging, but it’s the fixation on ways to constantly improve that also drives us. It’s not unusual at our company to ask a lot of questions along our journey, always in the spirit of identifying if there’s something else we can learn from, something else we can consider, something else we can probe in further detail – all pointed towards building processes and practices we can teach others to help achieve great things.
My purpose in this message is not to suggest that we are never satisfied with what we achieve as a business. I would prefer that we think about it more along the lines that we never settle for what we achieve. We need to celebrate our successes along the journey’s path – and also enjoin the camaraderie that comes in the commitment to go on with our journey towards finding ways to become even better.
Part of making PacSci EMC a great place to work is being surrounded by employees who also share this same perspective. We’re all at different places within this journey – but how great is it that you have a team of committed colleagues, associates, and hopefully friends – all in the same group of people that you work with at our company – who share your passion to find ways to improve.
There is little doubt that being great is a challenging task. Knowing that we’re all in it together, and share a common passion for the journey that is at the heart of continuously improving, should make it a whole lot more satisfying.