It all started about three weeks ago. I had spent the last eight hours delivering a training course on achieving process transformation through Lean to a class full of new Lean learners. Although there’s nothing I enjoy more in my work than having the privilege of teaching others, on this day in particular I was exhausted. The course is designed as a fast-paced, non-stop, simulation-based exercise that keeps even the most experienced facilitator in a state of controlled frenzy for the duration of the exercise. After the class, I found myself walking out to my car with one of the students. It was one of the first times that I had taught the class, so I was eager to hear her candid opinion. So I asked. What she said was one of the most simple and impactful statements that I have ever heard on the topic of Lean:
I valued the focus on the thought processes most of all. You know, I think I’ve always thought that way, but I just didn’t realize it. Now that I am aware of it, I’ll be able to do it a lot better.
For some strange reason, her words hit me like a freight train. I bumbled through the rest of the conversation, thanking her for the candid feedback and wishing her well on her Lean journey. On the car ride home, I kept replaying the quote over and over again in my head, searching for the deeper meaning that seemed to be eluding me. I recounted the moment so frequently that evening, I wanted to beat my head against the wall. And I’m fairly certain my wife wanted to help. Ready to give up, I lay my head on my pillow and closed my eyes, ready to clock in a solid 6 hours of slumber. And then it hit me.
That quote sums up – very elegantly, I might add – why I am so passionate about Lean thinking and why I value so much teaching it to others. Lean thinking unlocks the hidden potential that is already within us all. We all can become expert problem solvers. We all can eliminate the waste from the things we do every day. And we can ALL find ways to make each day a little bit better than the last. That is what the spirit of kaizen is all about, and that is why I decided to start The KaiZone. I wanted to create a place where we can all come together to learn from one another and to share our personal Lean journeys with one another.
No matter where you are on your path, I hope you will find the content and the discussion at The KaiZone as a valuable source of learning and inspiration. To get the most of the experience, please feel free to subscribe to the blog to get each post emailed to your inbox, or consider following me on LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest. My only ask of you is that if you feel that you can help others to learn, please take the opportunity to share your comments, or contact me with ideas for future posts you’d like to see or with questions that you’d like me to help answer. And if you, yourself have learned something that you value, please share that learning with others.
I believe that each of us has the power to achieve great things in life and that Lean thinking can help to unlock our hidden potential. Hopefully, we can all help each other to achieve these great things together.