Do you think you have the freedom to be yourself at your workplace without having the fear of judgment? Do you fear of rejection of your ideas or being criticized or humiliated in public for giving new ideas? Or do you feel that your ideas are taken for granted or someone else will steal your idea and take the credit for it? Then be careful. You are in a psychologically unsafe environment. This could be due to the lack of elements in a “Kaizen Culture”. Inorder to get over from this kind of a toxic culture, you must create a kaizen culture in your workplace.
Kaizen culture is a set of continuous improvement habits
Kaizen is not just a continuous improvement mindset, but it is a habit like drinking tea or having a morning shower. Moreover, it starts with you and need to do every day every place and with everybody of your team including the janitor who mobs the floor. Good kaizens are not about saving money but making the lives easier for your people. The best kaizen will have 0 investments.
Building kaizen habits at gemba
You can’t do kaizen just by sitting on your comfy chair, but you have to go to Gemba and listen to their ideas, talk to them, it’s not just saying hello or good morning but talk about their pain points and do kaizen with them. When your team starts seeing their boss is trying to make their lives easier, genuine mutual trust & respect will be built.
Also, these efforts make them feel safe, accepted and valued for their new ideas. Also, it creates confidence in teams that nobody will steal your ideas but they will support to nurture them. When you do this over and over again as a habit, you will build the team work, create a sense of belongingness, sense of purpose and sense of accomplishment in your teams. More importantly a better and happy working place.
Below video helps you to understand how Toyota build kaizen culture regardless of the culture of the country.