Lessons in KAIZEN™ from Pope Francis

Lessons in KAIZEN™ from Pope Francis

He spoke of a “celebration of solidarity between peoples” and that engaging in KAIZEN™ was a business transformation approach but also "an opportunity for dialogue, comprehension and mutual human enrichment”. The Holy Father went on to say that the KAIZEN™ process was “a tool for communicating values that promote the good of the human person and help to build a more peaceful and fraternal society”. He reminded us that many continuous improvement values and attitudes fostered by KAIZEN™ are not only important in business, "but in all aspects of life, especially in building peace."

Pope Francis offered three lessons.

First, the importance of training, that KAIZEN™ “...teaches us that to win, you have to train” drawing a comparison to life in general "In life, you have to struggle, to 'train' in order to achieve important results." KAIZEN™ is not a one-time project or policy decision, "it takes dedicated and continuous 'training', how much effort needs to be invested to achieve encounter and peace between individuals and peoples! It is necessary to train hard," he said.

The second lesson is one of fair play and working as a team. Pope Francis said, "To play as a team it is necessary to think first of the good of the group, not of oneself. To win, one must overcome individualism, selfishness, all forms of racism, intolerance and the exploitation of the human person," and that when we are greedy and selfish, sub-optimizing the system for personal benefit, the overall society, is harmed.

The third lesson is one of respect for humanity. The Holy Father shared the secret of victory in competition and life in general, was “...learning to respect not only my team-mates, but also my opponents. No one wins alone, on the field or in life! No-one should feel isolated or excluded. And be careful! No segregation, no racism!”

Let's remember these lessons the next time we embark on any sprint on jog on the continuous improvement journey that is life, be it a KAIZEN™ suggestion program, a Six Sigma project, or KAIZEN™ event.

Pope Francis promised to pray for the event “...take place with serenity and tranquility, always with mutual respect, solidarity and brotherhood among men and women who acknowledge each other as members of a single family.” Pope Francis was, of course, speaking about the competitive sport at the center of 2014 FIFA World Cup. May the beautiful game bring us together.

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