Improve Team Learning—Again and Again—with Kaizen

Business has always moved fast, and some would even argue that the speed of modern work is continuing to increase over time. Growing emphasis on processes like minimum viable products, scrum project planning, and agile development shows that speed and rapid innovation are highly valued in today’s business world. In this spirit, many business leaders have turned to the Kaizen method, which advocates continuous incremental improvement as a framework for driving innovation and growth. Excitingly, the Kaizen method can also be applied to team and employee learning and development.

Continuous development focused on improvement

Kaizen is a Japanese word that can be translated to mean “change for the better.” And the Kaizen process, founded in Japan in the late 1950s, was adopted as a method of innovation, prototyping, production, and building that looks quite similar to modern businesses today who rapidly innovate:

  1. Plan
  2. Do
  3. Check
  4. Act

And then the cycle repeats. This flexible method for improvement can fit many business models—in the same way that some marketing and sales teams have adapted the agile development cycle to their business units. After each round of the Kaizen method, teams have the opportunity to digest what worked, what didn’t, and what they should do moving forward before the next planning stage—with the idea of reducing the time it takes to improve bad habits.

One key to introducing continuous improvement into an organization or team is a quickly-accessible, easily updatable learning software. Traditional LMSs and learning solutions—with their long content development workflows and cycles—aren’t built to move at the speed of modern business. But modern learning software fits in nicely with the Kaizen approach, minimizing or altogether eliminating the need for daily or weekly in-person training sessions and seminars that aren’t scalable.

This speed over fidelity approach has obvious implications when it comes to improving software development cycles and changing organizational leadership models, but applying it to team learning and development cycles is effective as well.

A continuously improving support team

For example, let’s look at how a customer support team might go about building a learning course that focuses on continuous development.

Plan—The first step is identifying where improvements are needed on the team. This might range from a single Lesson on better phone skills and etiquette to an entire course about using Salesforce most effectively. This planning stage should help uncover desired outcomes and processes for building content accordingly.

Do—As Nike says, “Just do it.” This step is all about executing the plan. And modern learning software like Lessonly makes this step easier. Keep content short and digestible, remembering that learners will frequently reference it in their moments of need.

Check—After the plan has been executed, now comes a moment for reflection. Leaders should step back and look at the results to identify where they need to improve. This is where Lessonly’s Ask the Expert and Lesson Ratings are critical to keeping learning sharp and effective. Support leaders can reexamine their course on using Zendesk and get feedback for improvement straight from the Learners. Maybe the Lessons were too long? Maybe they weren’t thorough enough. This is an opportunity to implement the incremental improvement that Kaizen is all about.

Act—Finally, the last stage is to act on things that need changing. If Learners suggest changes to a Lesson or Course, make those changes! The successes and failures found in the Check and Act phases are what lead into the next phase of Planning. If a Lesson was confusing because information or context was missing, now’s the time to fix those things and start the process over.

This is just one example of what continuous improvement and the Kaizen process might look like when applied to team learning. The right modern learning software makes it easy to plan, build, share, and track learning content directly affects the productivity of a business team. And when employees are continuously improving, the overall business will continue to improve, too.

Continuously learn with Lessonly

Progressive companies all around the world use Lessonly’s team learning software to continuously overachieve. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of Lessonly and see how your team can benefit from modern learning. Sign up today.

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