The pursuit of perfection in systems and processes has been the key theme of my career for twenty years. Now I’ve read a ton of books, lean books, theory of constraint books, books about how to combine theory of constraints and lean and don’t even get me started on books about six sigma. But earlier in my career I found that not one of those books gave me any pointers on how to move a company from one state to another in terms of culture, or how to create momentum. For sure, I knew about Value Stream Mapping, PDCA cycles and Just in Time but what I was lacking was the secret formula to making lean or any other methodology really work.
As we have gotten closer and closer to the end of the first stage, our team has started talking about what happens next and which areas of the process will be worked on next. The resulting plan is so exciting that we all feel like something wonderful is just around the corner.
Earlier this year I wrote a post about managing workplace clutter and my own personal quest for a minimal ‘lean’ workspace. At the time, I wasn’t sure how easy my seriously pared down workspace was going to work out. Would I be buried under clutter a few months later, or constantly frustrated by having nowhere to put anything?
Change often comes with discomfort, even change for the better. Our minds are comfortable with the status quo and reluctant to forge ahead into known obstacles and discomfort. If we focus on WHY we want to change and fix our gaze to the horizon where our ambitions hover, we can see that discomfort is merely a necessary part of following the path to true north.
No one’s going to buy an improvement program just because a version of it works for someone else. Here lies the misconception. If someone has to sell you an improvement program, you’re probably not ready for it.
We can quickly find ourselves slipping from a position of motivation when the going gets rough. Like many others I’m sure, I find inspiration in reading just one more blog or researching just one more cutting edge idea. Unfortunately, putting awesome information into my brain does not directly result in putting one foot in front of the other when it comes to getting off the couch and getting active.
One of the key pitfalls that companies fall into as they embark on a lean transformation is failing to establish a clear vision of what lean will look like when implemented in their business.