Strategic Kaizen™ Book Summary - Strategic Kaizen™ Book explained in key points
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Strategic Kaizen™ summary

Using Flow, Synchronization, and Leveling Assessment to Measure and Strengthen Operational Performance

4.5 (94 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

'Strategic Kaizen™' by Masaaki Imai is a guide to implementing continuous improvement in your company. It outlines a step-by-step approach to building a culture of improvement and achieving sustainable success.

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    Strategic Kaizen™
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    Short-term profitability doesn’t guarantee long-term success.

    On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil well operated by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and discharging just under five million barrels of oil into the ocean. 

    BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, was unapologetic. 

    It wasn’t BP’s fault, he said, but the rig owners’. And anyway, it was a big ocean – the amount of oil BP was pumping into it was nothing compared to the total volume of water. 

    Hayward’s bullish stance provoked a media backlash. When he was finally forced to apologize, he used the opportunity to complain about how tired he was of being attacked. 

    From a PR perspective, BP’s response was a disaster. Hayward wasn’t acting on a personal whim, though – his actions reflected a widely accepted idea of the role of corporate leaders. 

    Here’s the key message: Short-term profitability doesn’t guarantee long-term success. 

    BP’s entire crisis response plan after the Deepwater Horizon explosion served a single goal – protecting the interests of its shareholders.

    Tony Hayward was merely the face of that plan. He downplayed the seriousness of the incident, deflected blame, and claimed to be the real victim – anything to prevent BP’s shares from tanking. 

    The plan didn’t work, and BP lost over half its market capitalization over the summer of 2010. It’s an extreme example, but it neatly illustrates a widespread problem among today’s corporations.

    In modern corporate management systems, a CEO’s highest priority and responsibility is to provide shareholder delight – that is, to guarantee profits for the people who have invested in the company. 

    Isn’t that just capitalism, though? Not really. The exclusive fixation on shareholder returns is a relatively recent development, and it often means leaders overlook another vital facet of capitalist enterprises: customer satisfaction

    It’s hard to put a number on how satisfied customers are with what you produce. Unlike profits, customer satisfaction doesn’t appear in monthly, quarterly, or annual reports – but it’s just as important when it comes to measuring the health of a company. 

    If customers aren’t happy, after all, they tend to just go and find somewhere else to spend their money. That doesn’t happen all at once, of course; by the time shareholder-obsessed leaders notice what’s going on, it’s often too late. And the result? The company goes under, and everyone suffers. 

    So, if you want to guarantee the short-term interests of shareholders, you must look to the long-term satisfaction of customers. 

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    What is Strategic Kaizen™ about?

    Strategic Kaizen (2021) examines the principles and practices of corporations that have embraced lean thinking – a paired-down, customer-oriented production process pioneered in postwar Japan. Also known as the Toyota Production System, this managerial philosophy is all about maximizing efficiency and reducing waste by making many small changes. 

    Strategic Kaizen™ Review

    Strategic Kaizen (2014) by Masaaki Imai is a valuable read for anyone interested in improving business processes. Here's why this book is worth exploring:

    • Offering a practical approach to continuous improvement, it provides readers with effective strategies to enhance productivity and eliminate waste.
    • The book brings together real-life case studies and examples, making it highly relatable and applicable to various industries and organizations.
    • Thanks to its straightforward explanations and clear examples, the book manages to engage readers while presenting complex concepts.

    Who should read Strategic Kaizen™?

    • Managers and leaders
    • Technophiles and car lovers
    • Strategists and planners

    About the Author

    Masaaki Imai is a world-renowned advocate of continuous improvement, a management consultant, and a best-selling author. A long-time associate of Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno, the mind behind the Japanese car company’s famous production system, Imai is credited with introducing lean strategy to the Western world. His previous books include Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success and Gemba Kaizen

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    Strategic Kaizen™ FAQs 

    What is the main message of Strategic Kaizen™?

    The main message of Strategic Kaizen™ is prioritize continuous improvement in order to achieve long-term success.

    How long does it take to read Strategic Kaizen™?

    The reading time for Strategic Kaizen™ varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Strategic Kaizen™ a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Strategic Kaizen™ is a valuable read for anyone looking for practical strategies to drive continuous improvement and achieve success.

    Who is the author of Strategic Kaizen™?

    The author of Strategic Kaizen™ is Masaaki Imai.

    What to read after Strategic Kaizen™?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Strategic Kaizen™, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker
    • Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai
    • Kaizen by Sarah Harvey
    • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
    • A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
    • The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking by Michael D. Watkins
    • Raising Mentally Strong Kids by Amen MD Daniel G. & Charles Fay
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear