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What if they treated their employees like people?

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by Louis Blatt June 2, 2023, 7:15 am

…Back in post-WWII Japan, the leadership at Toyota faced many of the same issues I was, although for different historical reasons. They resorted to a radical conclusion from ancient Japanese philosophy: What if they treated their employees like people? What if managers believed that things could always be better? What if they gave room for their employees to pursue continuous improvement in themselves and their work?

Thet philosophy is called Kaizen, or continuous improvement, and it’s deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, responsible for encouraging workers to strive for personal and professional growth.

After more digging, I found multiple studies reporting the same thing: put people first and watch your company thrive, whether it’s an automotive factory floor or a corporate office. Here’s how I incorporated Kaizen into workplace settings and how you can do the same.

Drop mura, muda, and muri
Toyota expanded its Kaizen work philosophy to encompass getting rid of mura, muri, and muda, which are inconsistency, overburden, and waste, respectively. To combat quiet quitting, I found it effective to adopt the same policy.

The three are often comingled. For example,…

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