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The Japanese demonstrated excellence in manufacturing to become a powerful economy. Much of their success, I believe, can be attributed to their work ethic.

One of the tools used by the Japanese is called “5S”. We call it “5S” because the 5 Japanese words all start with what in English can be equated to the letter “S”.

The 5 words are: Seiri; Seiton; Seiso; Seiketsu and Shitsuke.

A good explanation of the 5S concept is in the iSix Sigma site.

I have always advocated adapting the 5S concept from the manufacturing shop floor to the office or any other place of work.

You can do the following in your office too:-

  • Seiri means to put things in order. Trash what is not needed and retain what is. This is to be done periodically so that junk is not permitted to accumulate over time.
  • Seiton means proper arrangement. Are things arranged in a way that make them easily accessible? This is best described by the phrase ” A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place”.
  • Seiso means clean. Keeping your work place neat and clean without thrash and dirt.
  • Seiketsu means purity. Keep the place clean on an on-going basis. It means attending to this at all times.
  • Shitsuke means commitment. This is obtained by demonstrating this ourselves and teaching others to follow these principles.

Make a conscious effort to follow these steps for a few days- and you will see the difference for yourselves. It makes your place of work more clean, more cheerful and best of all makes it more convinient for you to work effectively.

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This is the 155 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success