Joel, you see with one eye closed. Your world is flat. Your thinking has no depth. Next time, open both eyes so maybe you see the people, too.”
Ouch! My sensei’s assessment of my first kaizen event was not quite as positive as I had hoped. Outwardly, I thanked him for his feedback and vowed that I would learn from the experience. My internal dialogue, however, contained of a litany of four-letter words, insults, and the vow that my first kaizen event would also be my last kaizen event. Thankfully, my cooler head prevailed, and I thought it a good idea to seek out my sensei and better understand his teaching before I swore off this “stupid lean stuff” forever.
I learned two very important lessons from that follow-up conversation. The first being that lean senseis can be quite brutal in their criticism; if I was going to learn anything from the man, I needed to swallow my ego. A little humility can go a long way.
The second lesson came in the form of a quote that still echoes deep in the catacombs of my mind to this day. He said, “Joel, you need to understand that . . .