YKK Stories

20190325 Issue 52 – Fundamental Behavior 12 – Seek improvement in everything

March 25, 2019
Author: YKK
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This week’s Fundamental Behavior is “Seek Improvement in Everything.”  Like most of the Behaviors we touch on each week, this week’s Behavior is connected to our other Fundamental Behaviors.

My favorite part of the description for Seek Improvement in Everything is, “Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. ‘Because we’ve always done it that way’ is not a reason.”  Maintaining the status quo is easy because there is little expectation from others or risk on our part involved.  Even when we know a situation or process is not right, we will often rather complain about it with our friends or co-workers than take initiative for improvement.  “Seek Improvement in Everything” really challenges us, doesn’t it?  It challenges us to break out of our current ways, step out of our comfort zones.  What if we changed our mindsets and attitudes and began taking those small steps that actively seek improvement in everything?  Small steps that could make our products, our daily work, our environment and that of those around us better?  I think others would notice these small, consistent efforts and they would be inspired as well.

If we take a small step, and make a small improvement each day, it’s simpler, more achievable, less intimidating, and more manageable, and when applied consistently, it will bring us stronger results that are sustainable.  After all, that is what we are looking for: those small steps that will bring sustainable improvement that builds sustainable success.

The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Seek the small improvement one day at a time.  That’s the only way it happens – and when it happen, it lasts.”

We rarely see tremendous life success with a quick fix. Life is just not that easy.  That is why so many of us fail at New Year’s resolutions.  We set difficult, maybe unrealistic goals that are insanely hard to achieve.  Instead, we need to take that small step and build upon it – That “paper thin effort” that Tadao Yoshida spoke of that can build sustainable success.

The documentary, Travis: A Soldier’s Story is the moving and inspiring story of Travis Mills, a decorated veteran and 1 of 5 servicemen from the Iran and Afghanistan wars to survive injuries as a quadruple amputee. Despite his horrific injuries and intense debilitating pain from losing his legs and parts of both arms, he began his recovery efforts.  Five weeks into his determined recovery, he was able to feed himself with the use of a prosthetic hand.  Learning to walk was a much more arduous process.  Travis had to work hard each day to build up is strength little by little in his hips and core. Amazingly, through his daily labors to improve his strength and only five months after his injury, Travis was able to walk a 5K in New York.

This is the power of that daily paper thin effort to seek improvement.  Albert Einstein called the power of compounding the most powerful force in the universe.  Einstein was speaking on the power of compounding interest but the same can apply to the results we can expect if we daily seek improvement in everything.

Last week in his message on the Fundamental Behavior “Innovate,” Keith Meyer asked us to be willing to try the unconventional, to challenge the traditions of YKK by asking ourselves, “What if?”  I wonder, what if we step out and challenge the status quo by improving each day?  What will happen when others see our continuous efforts?   I think it can be contagious and will inspire others to challenge the status quo as well.  I hope you will try it and give it some time. I think if you do, we will see a positive difference in the culture of our company along with some amazing results.


John Smith
Fastening Business Leader