Metajive Values: A Focus on Kaizen
Kai-zen [ kahy-zen ]
“A business philosophy or system that is based on making positive changes on a regular basis, as to improve productivity.” – Dictionary.com
Kaizen is a Japanese concept that also happens to be one of our core values here at Metajive. We know we can always improve, push each other to be better, and practice until we reach a new level of achievement. And when we reach it, we keep on going. In fact, we never stop refining our processes, because we aim to operate with a kaizen mindset in all we do.
We can’t think about kaizen without thinking of the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s the true story of an 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, who runs a tiny sushi bar in a Tokyo subway and is renowned as the world’s greatest sushi chef. Japan has even declared him to be a National Treasure. But for Jiro, the journey isn’t over.
Because he “Hasn’t reached perfection.”
That right there is at the heart of kaizen. It means you never stop iterating, improving, and finding ways to be the best.
How do you get to be the best at every single thing you do? You keep practicing.
Do you stop when you’ve reached the top? Never. There is always a process that can be improved upon, or a system that can be made better.As Steven Pressfield says in his game-changing book The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle, “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
We sit down every day and we try to improve. And on the days when we have received multiple accolades and awards we think about what could be better twice as much. Because these moments only relate to where we’ve been, not where we are going.
We welcome feedback from everyone – there’s no hierarchy here when it comes to ways to be our best and our team is willing to learn from each other. If our Executive Creative Director can learn something from a junior designer, we’re all ears.
“This is such an exciting time for Metajive. I’ve been trying to hire people this talented since the day I opened the doors, and for my part, I’m thrilled to be able to learn from them.” – Dave Benton, Metajive Founder.
It’s also why we invest in mentoring, and our directors have regular one-on-one check-ins with their team. These check-ins aren’t performance reviews… they’re about coaching people to get better at their jobs, and supporting them through the highs and lows of the journey. Additionally, learning is not a one way street. As you teach you also learn because you are exposed to new perspectives and scenarios that challenge your own understanding.
Mentoring is about a kaizen mindset.
So, even though we have created work we are proud of, it doesn’t stop us from striving to make the next project even better, because we are committed to excellence. Our mission is to “Create Great Experiences”. That means we critique every performance (just like Jiro’s team judges each batch of rice) and run retrospectives, both internally and with the client, when a project is complete.
We ask ourselves:
⇨ What could we have done better?
⇨ What worked and what didn’t?
⇨ How did I perform individually?
⇨ How did we perform as a team?
⇨ What lesson/s can we take with us into the next project?
Or as Jiro says, we’ll “Continue to climb, trying to reach the top… But no one knows where the top is!”