Sunday, March 04, 2012

How do we Notice?? Part 8

Some concluding thoughts, with personal illustrations about "things we notice", thanks to pal, Hal Macomber and his citation of Fernando Flores.

Flores explained this more effectively with the distinction "disclosive space." In short, what we see is governed by three concurrent aspects of our being.
  1. We see what we can distinguish, hence the need to learn.
  2. We see what we are concerned for, hence the importance to be clear for oneself and in social groups what concerns/goals we pursue.
  3. And, we see in the midst of our everyday doing...the habitual way we engage in the world, hence we need to be deliberate to the point of choosing our habits to give us the opportunity to see.

Regarding #1.   I drive down the street with my wife.  I see trees.  She sees maples, oaks, ash trees.  She sees healthy trees, sick trees, ash trees at risk for the emerald ash bore, trees which will live for 30 years, trees which will tear up a sidewalk, trees which will best enhance our city.  She's on our town's Tree Commission and knows her stuff.  

I drive down the street with my wife.  She sees a jogger.  I see a young runner training for cross country.  I see a middle age lady who is a new runner.  I see someone nursing a sore left Achilles tendon.  I enjoy running.  She finds it an interesting hobby for others.  

We see what we can distinguish.  My wife can distinguish trees.  I can distinguish runners.  Both are learned skills.  But without learning, we can't distinguish. 

Regarding #2.  My youngest son is a US Army Officer.  He just informed us his unit will be deploying later this year for a 12 month tour at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.  We now listen to the news with new interest, our ears perking at mention of this airbase.  Our concern is for our son, thus we notice much more than we used to.  

Regarding #3.  Two years ago, at a Lean Enterprise annual conference, I heard the clearest description of standard management work I had ever heard.  Two weeks later, my chief co-worker and I began a disciplined daily walk-around of our operation.  We've only missed 3 work days in two years now.  We created a habit of going to see, in the work place, every day, in a way that was transparent and focused on things that matter.  We've chosen to form a habit of walking to gemba.  Looking for key parameters.  And often noticing other things we would not have seen otherwise.  

I hope this series has been helpful.  Please reflect a bit on it and find one thing you might change as a result.

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Chet Frame said...

Great series, Joe. I enjoyed it.

I guess #2 explains why we see more cars of the color, make, and model that we are driving than we did when we were driving our previous car. It goes a way toward exposing why we see more quality issues or housekeeping issues when those have been talked about before our gemba walk.

Thank you.


Sarah said...

Just wanted to say thank you for a really interesting set of articles. I have been reading your blog for a number of years and really enjoy your insights.
Best wishes