2024: A Leap Year of Transformation – Elevate Your Continuous Improvement Journey!


Happy New Year!

As advocates of Kaizen, the philosophy and practice of continuous improvement, we recognize the value of each new year. We value each employee and each improvement idea.

As the late Masaaki Imai taught, Kaizen means everybody improving, everywhere, and every day.

However, 2024 stands out distinctly from the previous three years. This year is not just another trip around the sun; it's a Leap Year, offering us an extra day to innovate and improve while engaging everybody in the process.

But why does this matter, especially for those of us dedicated to the practice of Kaizen?

Firstly, the essence of Kaizen lies in making small, incremental changes for the better. With the addition of February 29th, we have 366 days at our disposal–a whole extra day to engage in thoughtful, incremental improvements. This might seem like a small addition, but in the world of continuous improvement, every day counts.

Secondly, the concept of being 1% better every day resonates profoundly with the spirit of Kaizen. Imagine the cumulative effect of striving for that 1% improvement daily in a year that's 0.27% longer than usual. While the numbers might appear modest, the impact can be significant.

Making something (quite literally) 1% better every day leads to the power of compound growth.

Calculating the impact of improving 1% every day across 365 days versus 366 days (a leap year) involves understanding compound growth. The formula for compound growth is:

In this scenario, if we consider the initial amount or value as 1 (representing 100% efficiency or capability on day 1), and the rate of growth as 1% daily, the formula becomes:

So, for a regular year (365 days) and a leap year (366 days), the calculations would be:

Let's calculate these to compare the impact.

The impact of improving by 1% every day for a regular year (365 days) results in a final value of approximately 37.78 times the initial value. For a leap year (366 days), the final value is about 38.16 times the initial value.

Every. Day. Matters.

Every. Employee. Matters.

Every. Idea. Matters.

Lastly, let's consider the symbolic value of the Leap Year. It's a reminder that time is a precious resource, and occasionally, we're granted a bit more of it. Let's use this extra time not just for personal or organizational growth, but to foster a culture of improvement that involves everyone, everywhere, every day. In 2024, with 366 days, the potential for improvement and innovation is amplified.

So, as we step into this Leap Year, let's embrace the additional time we have. Let's use it as a catalyst for change, a tool for betterment, and a reminder of the ongoing journey of improvement that lies at the heart of Kaizen. Here's to making 2024 a year of impactful, continuous improvement!

How are you going to help your entire team make the most of 2024 and the gift of this extra day?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.



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