Robert Maurer, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist on the faculty of the UCLA and the University of Washington Schools of Medicine. He is the founder of the Science of Excellence, a consulting firm, and travels extensively presenting seminars and consulting on kaizen to diverse organizations, including corporations, hospital staffs, universities— even the U.S. Navy. Dr. Maurer lives in Spokane, Washington.
“Maurer uses his knowledge of the brain and human psychology to show what I have promoted for the past three decades—that continuous improvement is built on the foundation of people courageously using their creativity. Kaizen is much more than a world-class management practice; it is a technique to remove fear from our mind’s mind, enabling us to take small steps to better things. The process of change starts with awareness and desire in our minds and then leads to action and change in the physical world. Readers of this book will surely fi nd new ideas and encouragement to make improvements in personal health, performance at work, and their own well-being.”
—Masaaki Imai, Chariman, Kaizen Institute
KAIZEN: The Small-Step Step Solution for You and Your Company
Today’s businesses love the idea of revolutionary, immediate change. But major “disruptive” efforts often fail because radical change sets off alarms in our brains and shuts down our power to think clearly and creatively.
There is, however, a more effective path to change. Change that is lasting and powerful. Change that begins with one small step . . .
It’s The Spirit of Kaizen—a proven system for implementing small, incremental steps that can have a big impact in reaching your goals. This step-by-step guide from renowned psychologist and consultant Dr. Robert Maurer shows you how to:Lower costs—by offering little rewards Raise quality—by reducing mistakes Manage difficult people— one step at a time Boost morale and productivity— in five minutes a day Implement big ideas—through small but steady actions Sell more—in less time
Filled with practical tips and ready-to-use tools for managers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, The Spirit of Kaizen is the essential handbook for a changing world. You’ll learn how to think outside the suggestion box, remove mental blindfolds, manage stress with one-minute exercises, and handle rising health-care costs. You’ll discover the “small step” secrets for dealing with all kinds of people, from tough bosses and listless workers to stubborn clients and fussy customers.
These simple but powerful techniques can be applied to almost any workplace situation, especially when you’re trying to navigate the stormy waters of radical change, high-pressure deadlines, and cutthroat competition. These are the same methods of small, continual improvement that have been tested by the largest companies, such as Boeing, Toyota, and the U.S. Navy—methods that will work for you, too.
No matter how big the obstacle or how big the dream, The Spirit of Kaizen has a small-step solution to help you succeed.
UPDATED: Includes the best habit tracking apps of 2017.
Lasting Change For Early Quitters, Burnouts, The Unmotivated, And Everyone Else Too
When I decided to start exercising consistently 10 years ago, this is what actually happened:
Like most people who try to change and fail, I assumed that I was the problem.
Then one afternoon--after another failed attempt to get motivated to exercise--I (accidentally) started my first mini habit. I initially committed to do one push-up, and it turned into a full workout. I was shocked. This "stupid idea" wasn't supposed to work. I was shocked again when my success with this strategy continued for months (and to this day).
I had to consider that maybe I wasn't the problem in those 10 years of mediocre results. Maybe it was my prior strategies that were ineffective, despite being oft-repeated as "the way to change" in countless books and blogs.
My suspicions were correct.
Is There A Scientific Explanation For This?
As I sought understanding, I found a plethora of scientific studies that had answers, with nobody to interpret them correctly. Based on the science--which you'll find peppered throughout Mini Habits--we've been doing it all wrong.
You can succeed without the guilt, intimidation, and repeated failure associated with such strategies as "getting motivated," New Year's Resolutions, or even "just doing it." In fact, you need to stop using those strategies if they aren't giving you great results.
Most popular strategies don't work well because they require you to fight against your subconscious brain (a fight not easily won). It's only when you start playing by your brain's rules and taking your human limitations seriously--as mini habits show you how to do--that you can achieve lasting change.
What's A Mini Habit?
A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its "too small to fail" nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. You will have no choice but to believe in yourself when you're always moving forward.
The barrier to the first step is so low that even depressed or "stuck" people can find early success and begin to reverse their lives right away. And if you think one push-up a day is too small to matter, I've got one heck of a story for you!
Aim For The First Step
They say when you aim for the moon, you'll land among the stars. Well, that doesn't make sense, as the moon is closer than the stars. I digress.
The message is that you should aim very high and even if you fall short, you'll still get somewhere. I've found the opposite to be true in regards to productivity and healthy behaviors. When you aim for the moon, you won't do anything because it's too far away. But when you aim for the step in front of you, you might keep going and reach the moon.
I've used the Mini Habits strategy to get into the best shape of my life, read 10x more books, and write 4x as many words. It started from requiring one push-up from myself every day. How ridiculous is that? Not so ridiculous when you consider the science of the brain, habits, and willpower.
The Mini Habits system works because it's how our brains are designed to change.
Note: This book isn't for eliminating bad habits (some principles could be useful for breaking habits). Mini Habits is a strategy to create permanent healthy habits in: exercise, writing, reading, thinking positively, meditating, drinking water, eating healthy foods, etc.
Lasting change won't happen until you take that first step into a strategy that works. Give Mini Habits a try. You won't look back.