Kaizen in Reputation Management

Improvement and/or Enhancement

Kaizen, is Japanese for “improvement.”

When used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.[1] It has been applied in healthcare,[2] psychotherapy,[3] life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries.

And, it most certainly applies to Reputation Management. There is always things that can be done to shape, influence and improve the reputation activities of the organization.

By improving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers such as Professor Deming who visited the country. It has since spread throughout the world[4] and is now being implemented in environments outside of business and productivity.


I wrote about this in my Powerlines Version 18 newsletter published in December 1999. In the article I used the word “Enhancement”. What does it really mean?

To do this we have to look at some definitions. Abraham Maslow , the psychologist who designed the hierarchy of needs also said that if the only thing you have is a hammer you tend to treat everything as if it’s a nail.

When it comes to sustaining and enhancing your company’s reputation you need to be ruthless, and you need to be clear as to how you define it in your mind.

The following exercise will help you to define how to enhance your organization’s most important asset – it’s reputation.

The word enhancement means to heighten, intensify(qualities of power and value), improve(something already of a good quality), raise, increase, augment, add to, deepen, strengthen, reinforce, sharpen, develop, amplify, expand, magnify, maximise, boost, refine, polish, upgrade and enrich.

Take each of these definitions and rewrite them in terms of your Reputation Management responsibility. Be clear and specific and convert each of these statements into specific tasks and action plans.

For example, ‘’How can I maximize my organization’s and my own reputation in the work and marketplace?” How can I reinforce the messages (verbal, nonverbal and media related) that underpins my organization’s reputation?

This exercise will enable you to have a far clearer picture of how you will need to approach the mammoth task of enhancing your company’s reputation.

You could also speed up your learning process by attending anyone of our seminars and using the drivers of reputation as illustrated in surveys by organizations such as the Reputation Institute.