Kaizen. This Japanese compound word translates to “change” (kai), and “good” (zen). Kaizen was the name of a technique Toyota used to become a giant in the auto industry.

In business, it’s also referred to as a Continual Improvement Process. It’s an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.

It’s particularly important for small businesses to embrace change that improves business processes, especially when it relates to technology. Technological tools (like software, networking, computer hardware, etceteras) tend to improve exponentially every year, yet we find that some of our clients lean toward avoiding change, to the exclusion of “getting better all the time”.

Avoiding change or improvement in the area of Information Technology can have grave long term affects. Risks change every day, whether it’s a new malware threat, the threat of equipment failure, or even loss by missing out on powerful new features.

My job is to guide our clients safely, gracefully, and quickly through change that leads to improvement. I sometimes ask my clients to step out of their comfort zone so they can realize improvements, or to mitigate risk associated with stagnation of technology. I will never recommend change just for the sake of change, and I’d be doing my client a disservice if I was allowed their business technology to stagnate without counselling them against it.

Often, when we do recommend change, the result is more productivity, increased revenue, enhanced security, or more happiness– sometimes it’s all four.