“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” & the Kaizen Mindset
On my way back from vacation, I watched the movie “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” for a second time. I first watched it in 2012 before my first study trip to Japan. You can watch the movie for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member, by the way.
As you can read in the transcript of the film
[Jiro] is always looking ahead.
He’s never satisfied with his work.
He’s always trying to find ways
to make the sushi better, or to improve his skills.Even now, that’s what he thinks about all day, every day.
That reminds me of Lean thinking, especially the drive for Kaizen, or continuous improvement.
As Jiro says, there’s always room for improvement:
I admire how somebody like Jiro can do the same thing, follow the same routine, every day for decades, trying to perfect his craft.
Later in the film, we also see Fujita, a tuna dealer, who talks about the need for continuous improvement and the self-reflection that’s necessary.
Even at my age, I’m discovering new techniques.
But just when you think you know it all, you realize that you’re just fooling yourself…
and then you get depressed.
Do you ever feel that way? It reminds me of the “Dunning-Kruger effect” where beginners in a field overestimate their knowledge and ability. I see this a lot with Lean or “Lean Sigma.” As they say, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
- fail to recognize their own lack of skill
- fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy
- fail to accurately gauge skill in others
- recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill
Then, as you learn more, you realize how much you don’t know. This can lead to the “imposter syndrome.”
“Psychological research done in the early 1980s estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds and other studies have found that 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another.”
Interesting thoughts for the practice of Lean and Kaizen, eh?