Saturday, January 03, 2004


In a dinner conversation tonight, four of us got going on how organizations become ineffective by trying to do too much. 

"Yeah, loss of focus.  Not planning.  Cramming too much in.  Nobody taking charge."

And it hit me that this is one of the reasons lean systems work.

Every tool we have in lean contributes to focusing on the right things.  So, when we do a 5S exercise to clean up a mechanic shop, we do so that we can find the tools we need quickly.  When we create a measurement and a scoreboard in a work area, we do so in order to focus attention on what gets done.  When we do a kaizen event to rapidly change a process, we do this with a specific, written goal in mind. 

And this focus makes accountability easier.  We can't be accountable until we have something to be accountable for. 

On the other hand, clutter makes it easier to hide.  Whether literally hiding behind large piles of inventory or backlogged paperwork.  Or concealing incompetence within a non-documented process. 

Physical and mental decluttering.  It all aids focus.  So find something today to declutter.  Even if it is your email inbox. 

I hope this is helpful. 

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