Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Seeing the familiar for the first time

Seeing the familiar for the first time

We kicked off a kaizen event this morning. After welcoming the participants, the kaizen leader pointed out that we always do kaizen events in the workplace, not in a conference room, because that’s where the operators and the ideas are.

As he talked, I looked around the group. Four of the six participants had been in kaizen events before but this was a new experience for the other two. And when he explained why we were in the workplace, the eyes of these two lit up, along with bright smiles and nodding heads. This resonated for them.

Watching their reaction was a marvelous reminder for me. It is a radical concept to most people that we would attempt to improve a process quickly and do so entirely in and at the workplace, with the people actually doing the work, while they are doing the work. It hit these two team members radically.

And positively.

I can’t forget the radical nature of the Lean paradigm. I can’t get too comfortable or cozy with it and forget just how drastic and far-reaching it is. It would be like visiting the Grand Canyon and blandly calling it a “large ditch.”

I hope you can have some sense of awe today. I sure did.

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