Live a six sigma life

[The word] “kaizen” was created in Japan following World War II… Kaizen means “continuous improvement.” It comes from the Japanese words 改 (“kai”) which means “change” or “to correct” and 善 (“zen”) which means “good.” — Steve Stephenson

In 1981, Motorola developed a business process called Six sigma.  It mandated just 3.4 defects per million in the products they shipped. For example, out of one million cell phones leaving the factory, only 3.4 could have a defect.

How Motorola accomplished this was surprisingly simple: they got rid of the biggest defect first, then they got rid of the next biggest defect, then they got rid of the next biggest defect… and they kept getting rid of the next biggest defect until there were only 3.4 defects per million.

At its heart, six sigma is kaizen: getting rid of recurring bottlenecks — those problems that keep holding you back — in order of priority. But it’s not limited to cell phones. Six sigma kaizen is a strategy you can apply to any aspect of your life.