Kaizen Décor

I was traveling last week and overnighted at a swanky hotel at my client’s suggestion.

It was new, modern in that glassy, sanitized way with lots of hard surfaces, funky furniture with music cooler than traveling really is playing in the lobby.  After checking in I walked the long moody, hallways with helter skelter carpet to the elevator and then to my room.  On the walls were a series of three, I’ll call them “medallions.” Round, flat cut, steel plates with irregular edges and with flame burnishing creating shadows or marks on all three. No name, no artist, no real specific meaning, just, meaningless stuff on the walls highlighted by glaring spot lights.

And then it occurred to me that this hotel’s vapid décor has much in common with management posters I’ve seen dozens and dozens of times in companies all across this country.  It’s management’s implication of what is beautiful, or of extraordinary significance. It’s a passive attempt to communicate a vibe or vision. 5S and Safety posters come to mind, some big, some small, others hanging in breakrooms. I’ve even discovered examples posted in restrooms! What it represents is what it is for swanky hotels. Stuff to “fill public spaces” with the suggestion that management cares about you with something personal, something that suggests “this is who we are” or “our mindset”. Don’t let it fool you. Real, progressive, engaged, committed management teams hang pictures and posters of their family on the wall. Things they’ve done together. History and stories captured on film, or apparatus, on display to show all who come in this place has a true heart, a shared spirit, a shared team that honors and is proud of it’s history of learning and doing things!

Continuous Improvement and Kaizen is a spirit of continuous learning that has at it’s core a deep unending respect for people, with only two tracks. Success or learning. At times those tracks are intertwined and those are the moments that are display worthy in hallways, break areas, web pages and videos.

May your organization proudly display the good and learning moments of your success.

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