Secret 9 1/2: Practice Kaizen

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

This post is part of the blog series: 9 1/2 Secrets Successful People Use to Get the Most From Their Time, Life, and Career.

How do you go from junk to best in the world? The secret is kaizen—a Japanese concept developed after World War II that means “continuous improvement.” It helped to revolutionize the country’s war-torn manufacturers into a world-class industry.

What Kaizen Means for You

Secret 9 said to “imitate the champions.” You can continue to do this with Secret 9 1/2. Consider most sports champions: Once they are champions, they, with the help of their coach, have a well-developed plan to stay champions.

Once you are applying the nine secrets, you will need a well-developed plan to continue improving each day, getting the most from your time and life and building on your productivity and life fulfillment.


Why the Half?

Many people ask, “Why are there nine and a half secrets?” There are two reasons. The first reason relates to continuous improvement. An integer represents a whole. A fraction indicates something is missing. What is missing here? Your continuous improvement, a small bit each day. Those who believe that when all nine secrets are implemented they’ll have it all miss the fact that we can always get a little better. And the person who quits growing is dying.

The second reason for the half is an attention getter. Were you one of the many who asked the question, “Why the half?” If so, you have a new insight. If it worked on you, it will certainly work for you in the future.

Challenge of This Blog Post: Slipping Back Into Old Ways
This is a fact of life with most skills, including the way you use your time: If you are not growing and improving, you are slipping back. That is why the champions all have a well-developed plan to stay a champion.

Benefit of This Blog Post: Continuous Improvement as a Champion
When you have a well-developed plan for regular, continued growth, you will continuously improve as a champion.

Suggestion: An Easy, Complete Method to a Well-Developed Plan
Review the assessment in Secret 8, and take the appropriate action.

About the Author
Jim Steffen founded SSA International in 1974. He wrote the international bestseller Aligned Thinking: Make Every Moment Count. He would be glad to offer you the opportunity to become a Certified Trainer/Coach, learn the Aligned Thinking Secrets, and teach it to your clients; the program is free if you are an ATD member. For details, visit or contact him at
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