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The power of Kaizen for law department improvement

The Japanese term kaizen reminds us of a powerful principle of management: continuous improvement – not resting on one’s laurels – is the path to enlightenment. Its thesis is one reason I dislike talk of best practices (See my post of July 14, 2005 about the difficulty of following suit.). If you adopt a best practice it seems to follow that there is no room or effort for improvement. Kaizen also supports my view that we should all critically and continually test our assumptions of how to manage (See my post of Sept. 10, 2005 regarding frameworks and mental models.). Kaizen further implies that you stop doing what no longer works.

To manage a law department well is to restlessly search for whatever shortcuts, speed-ups, tricks and productivity gains you can experiment with and adopt (See my post of Aug. 8, 2006 on productivity.). Let banzai (divine wind) waft in kaizen and avoid tora tora (danger).

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