Imagine someone walking up to you today and handing you $10,000 tax-free! The only catch? You must invest the entire sum in order to get the greatest ROI (return on investment) possible. Stop and ask yourself the following questions:
- How would you invest that money?
- Where could you get the biggest bang for your buck?
- What’s the best investment you could ever make?
Most often when I present this scenario, people cough up the usual suspects: mutual funds, real estate, playing the stock market, etc. Although those may be viable options (and my investment advisor friends would agree) the answer is much deeper than that.
In my experience, the best investment any individual or business will ever make is to invest in their own growth. Without a doubt, you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck by devoting time and resources to enhancing your skills, experience and knowledge.
Successful people and organizations understand the value of investing in their own growth. They’re committed to constant and never-ending development. They’ve made a commitment to be life-long learners in order to achieve their dreams.
The Japanese value this principle. Their word Kaizen means “continuous improvement.” It comes from the root words “Kai” meaning school and “Zen” meaning wisdom. But to the Japanese, Kaizen is much more than a word. It’s a way of life.
In Japan, Kaizen is a business system that involves every employee in the company, from upper management to the cleaning crew. Everyone is encouraged to share their small improvement suggestions on a regular basis. This isn’t a monthly or yearly activity, it’s continuous.
In Japanese companies such as Toyota and Canon, a total of sixty to seventy suggestions per employee are written down, shared and implemented every single year! In other words, an employee submits 5-6 ideas per month on average!
In most cases these aren’t ideas for major changes. Kaizen is based on making little changes on a regular basis; always improving productivity, safety and effectiveness. Suggestions aren’t limited to a specific area such as production or marketing. Kaizen is based on making changes anywhere that improvements can be made.
Western philosophy can be summarized as…
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
The Kaizen philosophy is…
“Do it better. Make it better. Improve it even if it isn’t broken, because if we don’t we can’t compete with those who do!”
Personal & professional growth
Successful people and businesses invest in their own growth. It’s that simple. They spend significant time, money and other resources to learn and grow. They know that a person only learns their limitations by going beyond them. By focusing on their personal and professional growth, they are encouraged to make small incremental improvements daily. In so doing, they are motivated to find a way to go beyond their current set of self-imposed restrictions. It’s what Anthony Robbins refers to as CANI – Constant And Never-ending Improvement.
Most companies ask, “What’s wrong?” Successful companies ask, “What’s missing?”
Constant learning is the main key to never-ending improvement. If you’re not willing to learn, you risk stagnation and mediocrity, and can’t hope to be anything more than average. For many people, learning stopped after they got out of school. For the succesful, life is a classroom where their education continues every single day.
“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.” Warren Buffet
Constant learning is not an easy process. Knowledge is like a seed. It takes time to improve, nurture and grow. If you want to achieve great success, be willing to learn.
So what are you doing to educate yourself right now? As you use your skills to achieve your personal and professional dreams, make it a priority to attend conferences and seminars. Read books or join a no-read book club! Devote some of your free time to learning about what interests you.
Even better? Get a coach who can help you take self-directed action on a daily basis, and who will provide the support and accountability to help you play at the top of your game!
The greatest investment of all time is not in stocks, mutual funds, gold or real estate. The greatest investment you will ever make is in yourself and your business. To get the maximum ROI, invest in your growth.