Japanese businesses are often known for their efficient processes. Some of their concepts have spread around the world not only in business but personal development as well. Kaizen and the 3M model are two of these Japanese business concepts that you can use to accomplish your goals in any area of life.


Kaizen is a Japanese concept of continual improvement that is beginning to spread in the West as more people learn about it and how effective it is. In Japanese, this word means “change for better” with inherent meanings of “continuous” and “philosophy.” Under kaizen philosophy, all employees in a business are encouraged to share their ideas for improving the company. As a whole, the company works more efficiently when everyone in the organization is proactive. Kaizen is a major reason why some Japanese businesses like Toyota found great success after WWII. And many businesses continue to find success through kaizen philosophy.

The basic four-step kaizen process you can implement for any area of your life you want to improve is to plan, do, check and act. Repeat the cycle to keep improving. During the check stage, you evaluate your results. When you act, determine what change you want to make based on your insights.

Related: Lean Production

3M: Muda, Mura, Muri

Muda, mura and muri are Japanese terms that refer to the three categories of waste found in a business. Muda is a constraint that causes waste. The goal is to eliminate things that are unnecessary and don’t add value. It’s a simple waste management technique you can apply to your daily life. Where do you waste time, energy and money? Your answer to this question will provide many possible ideas for improvement. Even if you can’t entirely cut a waste, you can minimize it.

Related: MudaMasters

Mura is unevenness, such as fluctuating customer demand and varying process times. Too much unevenness leads to muri, which means overburden. Try to create as much consistency in your life as possible to reduce mura. For instance, going to bed at the same time every night creates more consistency. When you get enough sleep, you’ll be more productive.

Muri is when employees are overworked and machines are used beyond their capacity. It can cause burnouts and equipment breakdowns. When you begin feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you should remember the 3M model and brainstorm where it’s coming from.

Related: Creative Safety Supply

Kaizen and the 3M model are two clever Japanese business concepts that can help you in your daily life. Their principles have been adopted by self-improvement and productivity experts in the western world. Implementing these ideas can help you improve any area of your life.

Here are two other articles we think you might like that talk about self improvement!




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