Home Thinking Aloud The KAIZEN Way – Five Steps To Awaken Your Passion For Work And Life

The KAIZEN Way – Five Steps To Awaken Your Passion For Work And Life


by Kay Hirai, author of “Sheer Determination: Swimming Upstream in a Downstream World


KAIZEN: A Japanese word for “life-long learning in small incremental steps”. Making a determined effort to learn on a continual basis is the most important skill you need if you want to practice KAIZEN.

How to practice KAIZEN in your business and personal life:

1. Build a passionate Business Model.

  • Use a clear vision, a strong mission and good values to guide you every day.
  • Work on your business, not in your business.
  • Build systems and procedures for consistent service delivery.
  • Create a win-win for employees, customers and the community.
  • Invite people of diverse cultures to work as one team.

2. See the big picture.

  • Dream how things can evolve into something great instead of accepting how they are today.
  • Uncover your passion by creating a life of purpose.
  • Consider “quality of life” when setting your goals.
  • Become a mentor so that you can groom future leaders.
  • Visualize your business as a vehicle to help the citizens of the world.

3. Attitude is everything.

  • Find your gifts and use them to help others.
  • Help to uncover hidden gifts in people and use them to create a better world.
  • Work on yourself vs. blaming others when things don’t go as planned.
  • Reflect on your mistakes and make note of what you learned from them.
  • Watch opportunities come your way!
  • Remember that first you learn, second you do, and third you teach.

4. Show me the Money.

  1. Take responsibility to protect the bottom line.
  2. Learn to be a good money manager in personal life and in business.
  3. Try to give a little money away and you will usually receive something more valuable in return.
  4. Watch your money closely and steer away from temptations that lead to waste.
  5. Save first to create a profit for both you and your business.

5. See the community as your partner.

  • Give a helping hand to those who are vulnerable in our society.
  • Partner with people who match your ethical beliefs and philosophical values.
  • Don’t teach by telling people “what to do”, instead tell them “why-to-do and how-to-do”.
  • Make philanthropy the cornerstone of your marketing program.
  • Become a driver for social changes and have fun in the process.


kay hirai

The owner of a small business (Studio 904 salon on Mercer Island, WA), Kay Hirai has dedicated her life to running an ethical business that helps her employees, customers, and the community. In her third book, “Sheer Determination” she details her 40-year journey of self-discovery and perseverance to create a salon that is widely admired for its cutting-edge business philosophies.