The so-called Kaizen process describes that change (kai) is necessary to stay in balance (zen). Thus, you do not remain in balance despite changes, but because of them. The kaizen process is a cycle of continuous improvement and consists of four phases:
- Plan: You set your goals and decide how you want to achieve them.
- Act: You put the plan into action in the best possible way.
- Check: You check whether your goals have been achieved and whether the initial decision has led to the desired results.
- Adjust: If the goal has not been achieved, you adjust your decision and actions. You start again in phase one.
The Kaizen process shows that you should not be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are always just a way to do something better.
First, mistakes are not possible in the kaizen process because you are in an improvement cycle. This means that every decision will be adjusted and revised sooner or later.
Second, the fear of making mistakes is nothing more than the fear of other people's opinions and rejection. If you focus on yourself, it will be easier for you to follow the Kaizen process. Most of the time, your peers are much more concerned with themselves anyway and don't always form opinions about everything you do.
If it turns out that a decision did not lead to the desired result, that is not a problem. The advantage of the Kaizen process is that after a failure, not the entire process is questioned, but only a specific decision. The resulting opportunities for improvement are not a judgment on you or your abilities, but simply a chance to rethink and modify your own goals or actions.
You always make decisions based only on current knowledge as well as current experience. If that decision later turns out to be “wrong” – with more information and a new perspective – it does not mean that the original decision was stupid. It was simply the result of limited knowledge and information. Instead of feeling bad about it, focus on what changed as a result of the new information and what you can do to incorporate those changes into your action process.
To put failures into proper perspective, this simple question can help.