People – Kaizen Activities

What are the Roles & Responsibilities around Kaizen Activities?

People Teach Point Video

People – Kaizen Activities

Key Learning Points

Roles & Responsibilities

There are three things we want people to do with regards to Kaizen. The first is for them to identify opportunities for improvement everyday. We like to think of these opportunities as Gaps to close either to existing standards (levels of performance) or to a new standard (target condition).

Secondly, we want them to become familiar with the 8 Wastes and be able to identify them within their own work activities.

Thirdly, we want people to be proactive, willing to take an action and experiment by making a change. If it doesn’t work then you can always change it back, but at least you learnt by doing something!

Through this learning by doing approach we want people to develop a Kaizen Mindset towards making change and improvement. The benefit of adopting this mindset is that it develops them to become multi-skilled increasing their capability and flexibility.

This shows respect for people in that they have the ability and responsibility to make their work easier and not have to tolerate wasteful practices.

MUDA – The 8 Wastes

Muda is the Japanese word for Waste. To help remember the 8 Wastes use the accronym DOWNTIME.

MUDA - The 8 Wastes Teach Poster




No Employee Involvement




Excess Processing

Overproduction is in red as it is seen as the WORST Waste. If you overproduce by doing or making more than is needed then you run the risk of incurring all of the other Wastes.

To learn more about MUDA – The 8 Wastes try our online course for only £9.99!

Role of the Leader in Kaizen

Leaders need to become the Teachers and Coaches of others. That means:

  • recognising team members for good work/effort,
  • improving the teams knowledge, understanding and capability by getting them to learn by doing and,
  • feeding back to re-align any undesirable behaviours.

Leaders are responsible for growing the capability of their people and making sure they involve everyone in Kaizen Activities. This means making time for the team to do improvement, not to just do the work.

The mechanism for Leaders to do this is Management Routines. This means allocating time in the day/week/month, whatever frequency is appropriate for the situation, to support the team with their Kaizen Activities.

This approach needs to be done at each level in the organisation as everyone is responsible for doing and improving their work, regardless of their position/role.

Now move onto the Learning Confirmation.