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Apr 26

The Art of Kaizen – Continuous Improvement

In essence change is good.  Kaizen is a simple method of improvement and awareness.

Kaizen evolved as a concept where companies such as Sony, Toyota and others made continuous improvement part of the companies DNA. Their success is legendary.  Learn more about Kaizen Improve with Kaizen System, How the Japanese “Kaizen” Method Can Change Your Life. These same principles can be effectively used by individuals, teams and partnerships in building their real estate practice.

What are the key components to a successful real estate practice?  What can we measure and practice in an effort to achieve the best results in the shortest time?  Start by writing out a list of these activities; listing & selling presentations, marketing campaign, lead generation and conversion and others.  In essence, define what is standard for what you do in your business.  Your current production level does not matter.  This exercise is intended to help you see the “big picture” view of your business.  Once you are clear on your base line practice(s) you can begin applying the process of Kaizen or continuous improvement.

The process is quite simple and only requires an understanding that the energy in all that you do is to be captured and improved upon instead of lost and dissipated.  As the old Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  In Kaizen it begins with the understanding that continuous improvement conserves energy and increases momentum.

Four step process:

Start: What is the most pressing problem I am having?  Define problem area you wish to improve.

Choose: What can I do differently to eliminate the problem or reduce its’ impact? Decide on specific changes to be made.

Implement:  How will I know it’s improved?  Make sure you can measure results.

Capture: What do I need to do to make this my new standard?  Blend into or raise your standard of practice continuously.

Think of the process as a constant and continuous upward spiral. It never stops.  The process is forgiving not demanding.  You can come in and out of its focus as you wish.  There is no consequence to returning to the process should you drift away, only a stronger understanding of the value in its simplicity.

Personally, Kaizen has helped save me from trying to be perfect instead of effective.  I like to call myself a “recovering perfectionist”. The perfectionist has a tendency to over analyze and in essence procrastinate instead of taking action and learning by experience.  Through Kaizen I have learned to handle many more activities and projects than I would have ever imagined.  I see all that I do as a large wheel or spiral of improvement where I strive to get a plan into action sooner rather than later.  Remember, time is of the essence, just like in real estate.  The more time that passes the less likely you are to follow through.

As a Broker/Owner of a growing 40+ person company I have a strong desire to provide the very best in support, service and personal development.   So I now work with a “Done is Better” attitude knowing that once I get the project into my cycle of activity I will evaluate it to see if I can improve it and therefore raise the effectiveness or perhaps simply let it disappear.

Kaizen can be practiced by anyone often in less than ten minutes.  It can have a lasting and dramatic effect on how things get done.  It centers on personal accountability and honesty. If in a team or partnership, add the expectation that everyone involved will take responsibility for their contributions to help define efficiency and effectiveness.  It is awareness that all you do can and should be improved upon, ideally using energy that is already in motion. It is a process of compounding and increasing positive energy.  Let kinetics work for you. See your practice as a series of strategies where you test and apply measurable tactics to move you ever faster forward toward your goals and dreams.

Think of the four steps as a quality improvement circle.  You need to complete all four for maximum impact or improvement.  When you identify a problem write it down so that you can complete the process at a time where you can really focus on it.  It might be an improvement to a presentation, a soft close technique or any number of realizations.  Get the most out of your efforts.  Build a positive business cycle of continuous improvement that recycles your energy into ever greater success and joy.

Kaizen Real Estate Guide Says:

  • Do What Matters Most First
  • Choose a Simple Solution – Not The Perfect One
  • You Will Return To What Matters- Improve it then
  • Done Is Better
  • Problems Are Opportunities in Disguise
  •  Re-evaluate Fixed Ideas – Learn & Grow
  •  Resist Stagnation – Seek Inspiration

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