Feedback is Part of Kaizen

“Hunger for knowledge and thirst for success remains persistent as long as your goal is kaizen.” – Vikrambourne

When I started this blog one of the critical drivers that I had in mind is captured on the home page: “Learning and Growing Together.” I believe that everyday we have a chance to learn something new and as we do then it should be able to add to our growth trajectory. I should be wiser today that I was yesterday and with continuous learning I become more knowledgeable and wise. If it’s along my professional line of practice then I’ll be more productive. In my relationships I should then be more considerate, grounded and loving because that’s at the core of relationships. The principle here is continuous improvement, “Kaizen.

The first time I heard about Kaizen I was in a pharmaceutics lecture in the university studying about Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to be precise. You know how when you are in school you think all that is taught is supposed to be used in passing exams? I thought so too until I realized it’s a part of being and a way of life. Fast forward, I’ve been accustomed to this ideal and principle to the point that I feel I should be able to grow on a personal account and while I do that, it’s my responsibility to help others grow. I might not be the best at it but I do try the much I can. Coming to the end of the day I’ve had two critical incidences coupled with clear lessons and guidance on how we can move forward better and it’s about “feedback“.

First, through the work I do with Ryculture Health and Social Innovation, I live by another principle I learnt in my Pharmaceutics class, “Documentation.” If it’s not documented then it never happened and therefore I strive to document everything and anything I think of or do with the organization. I believe that by documenting such I may at a later time find use for it and if not then whoever may at one point come across the material may find some use for it. That’s important so when today I was commissioning my troops for the journey ahead after five weeks of working in the kitchen, I realized that there was a glitch in our data stream on the website and therefore the most critical of pieces were not there anymore. I had lost them due to recent maintenance activity that was done on the site. Unfortunately, being accustomed to thinking on my feet I didn’t have versions of some of these documents in my laptop which means I either recreate or forego that content. The latter is unthinkable so I’ll do the needful. However, from this experience I had feedback for my IT support team who failed to create backup for the same regardless of the fact that this is their area of work. It’s critical to work diligently and ensure that probable system flaws are covered for before such eventualities. On my account, I’ve got to create back up systems even if it means having folders of word documents to keep the materials in place.

Second incidence was with a friend I had referred to a job and once interviewed she went home with a promise that she’ll be contacted with feedback. It’s over a month down the line and she hasn’t received any feedback just yet. Luckily, she has another job and is moving on with her life. Unfortunately, she didn’t get any feedback on how she fared in her interview and therefore doesn’t have insights on how to do better in subsequent interviews. How can we expect her to get better in the next interview if we don’t help her know the flaws in her pitch? That’s how we fail each other by running a marathon like a sprint. We’ll get the people to sort our needs today and let got of the rest like hot potatoes not knowing they are a cog in the wheel that drives one of the critical components of the entire system within which we operate. As an employer or a client acquisition person, please ensure to let candidates know how they performed in the interview, areas of improvement and the status of their job search as pertains your interview process. It’s some form of closure. I’m grateful to have interacted with some thoughtful persons who dared give me critical feedback when I didn’t know how dismal I was performing as I wrote about here. On this account I’ll try contact the company just to inquire about their processes and ask them kindly to please relay an official communication to the interviewees even those who didn’t make the cut. Whether generic or customized, at least some feedback is important.

Finally, as much as we may never know that we have feedback for others, we always do. When you interact with your environment, there is something you feel or perceive of them and how you use this experience is what constitutes feedback. Question is whether you intend to use it in pursuit of continuous improvement or you’ll accept mediocrity and lackluster outlook at life. I hope and wish you go with the former.

“Excellence is not a journey. It’s a continuous journey that never ends and ours is to nourish the desire and nurture it.” – Brian Tracy (paraphrased)

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