I'm Learning Kaizen!
One of our newest clients, Michael Walsh of Kaizen Consulting, is a motivational speaker, facilitator, coach and business consultant that helps businesses achieve growth and profitability through a series of advanced business models and structures. We recently created a DVD for one of his presentations, “Tapping your potential without getting tapped out” and I felt like I should have been the one paying him for the privilege of being there. He is an excellent speaker and he brings the necessary energy and enthusiasm to keep his audience involved and having fun.
Kaizen (pronounced ‘ky-zen’) is a Japanese word meaning incremental, continuous growth and improvement. The approach applies to business the same way that you would learn anything in life. For example, if you were to read a one-page article where Tiger Woods told you the way to play perfect golf would you then be able to pick up a golf club and hit the ball 400 yards? Probably not. The Kaizen approach however would be to practice your balance for a while until that’s comfortable. Then you might work on your swing. Then your grip. This approach continues on and on indefinitely, and even though you aren’t necessarily going to win the Masters anytime soon, you will be improving, constantly and incrementally.
Michael and I have been discussing many ways to build his brand. We’re working on some strategies where we’ll help him embrace some new web 2.0 technologies to get his name out there and build his following. I’ll post more about that later.
Part of our arrangement is that I have now enrolled in Kaizen’s Business Builder program, an intensive four month program with two 1.5 hour group training modules weekly, in order to learn new perspectives, skills and tools to grow our agency. In addition Michael will act as a 1-on-1 mentor to work with me directly. I think this is a fantastic arrangement as not only do I get access to new tools for our company, but also I’m simultaneously immersing myself in our client’s business, which is always the best way to achieve results when marketing a product. Learning what our clients do from the inside out has always been one of my favourite aspects of the marketing industry. Whether it’s been flying into a desolate resort location by helicopter to experience one of Queen Charlotte’s luxury resorts or walking the factory of an industrial production facility, I’m constantly learning new things and expanding my general knowledge, which is great.
We had our first Business Builder module last night and there are 14 people in our group plus our facilitator. We all met by conference call and it seems that we were pretty much spread out across North America. We had people from Denver, Boston, Vancouver, etc.
After the introductions we learned a bit more about the Kaizen philosophy and then got into some exercises to discuss product, customer value and differentiation. I could elaborate more, but then I’d be giving away trade secrets, which I’m sure Michael wouldn’t approve of. I’ll be sure to post regularly and let everyone if I have a personal break through. (It’s funny because it feels like I’m going back to school for the first time in 10 years.)
I’ll end this post with the Kaizen philosophy summarized by our facilitator:
Bad is better than nothing.
Good is better than bad.
Perfect is the enemy of good.