woman meditating near a calm body of water

Ever since we were young, we have always been taught that self improvement is essential. We need it to grow, mature, survive and thrive. We are naturally improving in one way or another. But if we want to align our path to self improvement towards our personal and professional goals, it’s important to first reflect on how we have grown and what we have done in the past, especially our mistakes or areas for improvement. This is where hansei comes in. But what is it and how do you accomplish it? Here are some things you should know on how to implement hansei as part of your self improvement.

What is Hansei?

Hansei, a Japanese word that means self-reflection, is a cultural practice of introspection made famous by Toyota, as part of their production system. As a practice that is deeply rooted in the Japanese way of life, many companies have found it beneficial to implement this art of introspection to promote a sense of responsibility and accountability in the workforce. It is a crucial step for people and organizations who want to practice kaizen or continuous improvement. To master your craft, you need to improve continuously.

Why is Hansei Important?

The importance of hansei in a person’s improvement is rooted in the fact that our world is ever changing. To keep up with those changes, you will need to improve yourself to be able to adapt. By reflecting back on your past and reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses, you can identify better ways of doing the things that you do, be it at home or in the workplace. Hansei can also be a great step for you to move forward and move on from being regretful if you ever failed to accomplish something.

Implement Hansei in 4 Steps

Reflecting on one’s past and failures may sound too easy. To implement hansei, you will need to continuously identify problems in the way you do things and create an action plan to ensure that these problems do not happen again. But to make sure that you practice hansei properly, it’s important that you truly understand the process. To successfully implement hansei for your self improvement, here are four steps to follow.

Step 1. Identify the problem.

To have a better idea on how you should improve, you should first identify what weaknesses or failures you have. Are you too eager to succeed that you tend to rush through processes, which then affects the outcome of your work? Do you think you need to learn more about your work to be more adept with your current work processes? 

The problems you identify can also be something personal. For example, you tend to not have enough time to spend with your family. Is it because you’re taking on too many responsibilities at work? Or maybe you are spending most of your free time with your friends instead? By thinking back to your past actions and identifying why things happened the way they did, you can then identify your shortcomings.

Step 2. Take responsibility for your failure.

It’s not enough that you identify what the problem is. The next step is just as important and that is to own up to what you did. Taking responsibility for your actions and the issues you may have caused yourself will make it easier for you to move forward. And the fact that you are making an effort to improve yourself only proves that you are open to the idea of changing your ways for your own benefit.

Step 3. Understand how you feel towards the problem.

Apart from knowing your problems and taking responsibility for it, you will also need to have a deeper understanding of how you feel about your failure. To implement hansei properly, it’s important that you make sense of everything that happened before and after your problem occurred. What did you do or not do, and what do you feel towards your action that caused the problem? By understanding how you feel, it will be easier for you to make peace with the fact that you still have room to grow.

Step 4. Commit to improve.

The final step that will complete your hansei is the point where you accept the fact that you need to improve. Your commitment towards improvement is what will cement your path towards success. By identifying your problems, owning up to them, and understanding them, you can now come up with an action plan on how to avoid committing the same errors you have made before.

Implement Hansei to Kaizen

By being more mindful of your actions and their effects on your surroundings and relationships with the people around you, you can implement hansei better and find out what you can do to improve. By implementing new processes, changing your mindset and by committing to do better, you can successfully accomplish your hansei and become a better version of yourself. You can enhance your productivity, become a more effective team player and overall, become a better person.

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About the Author: Christine Joy Leal

Christine Joy Leal is an experienced freelance writer and content manager, a happy wife and a mother to two daughters, two dogs and two cats. She loves keeping things in order and enjoys using the Kanban and Agile methodologies to manage all her writing projects, daily tasks, and other personal matters that require efficient organization. Apart from managing her busy content writing career, she also enjoys board and online games, movies, TV shows, and crocheting. She also maintains a blog about her work as a freelance content writer.

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