The Spiritual Side of Continuous Improvement

By Ron Pereira Updated on January 13th, 2011

SpiritualityI’m exhausted – both physically and mentally.

For the past 5 days I’ve been involved in an extremely intense kaizen. One could even call it a kaikaku – or radical change event.

I’ve coached, learned, cleaned, painted, and sweat (a lot) alongside some amazing people.

We went to battle with muda (waste) and won. In fact we won big. And while we made huge improvements as it relates to 5S and throughput, the biggest success, at least for me, was watching the employees pour their entire beings into the event.

Today, during the report out there were a few occasions were grown men, including me, came close to tears. It was an emotional and even spiritual occasion for me personally.

I am a man of deep faith and prayer. As such, I’ve been praying for wisdom and guidance all week long. And today, all my prayers and hard work – and more importantly the hard work of my colleagues – came to fruition.

If you think continuous improvement is only about reading books, training, and certifications you couldn’t be more wrong.

No, continuous improvement is about engaging others. It’s about attacking the problem at hand with fury and intensity – no matter your job title or salary. It’s about making people’s lives better. And at times, at least for me, it’s a deeply spiritual and emotional journey.

And now… I need to rest.

  1. William King

    June 27, 2008 - 3:49 am

    Congratulations on your successful event. I also do my best to bring my faith life into the workplace and appreciate your inspiring thoughts on this matter.

  2. Paul Cary

    June 27, 2008 - 5:24 am

    I am also a man of deep prayer ( I say a rosary on my drive to work each morning) and know that all of the continuous improvements I have facilitated over the years have been guided by a higher power. Seeing the spirits of people emerge is the most rewarding part of the journey.

    • Brian Rotsaert

      January 17, 2012 - 9:48 am

      Thank you Ron, William and Paul for sharing your insights on faith in the workplace in conjunction with continuous improvement. I echo much of the same.

  3. Michael Esposito

    June 27, 2008 - 8:00 am

    I work at headquarters and as such I am somewhat distanced from Six Sigma efforts at my company. Is there a site or source of information that I could consult to learn more about Six Sigma?

    Thanks and regards,

    Michael Esposito

  4. Rick Foreman

    June 27, 2008 - 9:05 am

    I identify so much with your comments. My main focus is to engage and improve the daily lives of others. Lean continues to be a great avenue to impact the lives of so many in business and in a positive manner that flows into their personal lives beyond work. Congrats on a great Kaizen. We still need to meet in the Grapevine area. We’re focusing on daily kaizen acitivity to foster a cultural change just like our daily walk with God fuels the continuous improvement that He desires for us.
    Continue the walk!

  5. Chasen

    June 27, 2008 - 2:14 pm

    Congrats on another successful Kaizen. I know that having you there to be a part of makes it 10 times better from my own experience. Your drive and motivation is what encourages people to work so hard and come up with so many great ideas during these events.

  6. Ron Pereira

    June 29, 2008 - 10:51 am

    Thanks for all the kind words and comments everyone.

    @ Michael – I have many six sigma focused articles on the website. Also, iSixSigma contains a wealth of six sigma information. Check out my blogroll for others like shmula who definitely knows his six sigma stuff.

  7. John Holbrook

    October 28, 2009 - 7:11 am

    Sorry for a time lag to response, for I just find this fascinating site.

    There is a certain serenity when in the course of a value stream mapping event the group-esteem is enlightened with collective understanding. To me, this a surely a spiritual event. As you are aware, when an event starts, virutally no collective light exists. After the group labors for answers in the ideal state, common ground is found and, “Presto” the light of improvement occurs. Often, I have been called upon by academics to write about this transference. Could the academics understand the spiritual side of kaizen? What say you?

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