“Everybody wants to be a beast, until they have to do what beasts do.” This was the title of a video sent to me by
fellow lean maniac Eric Thomas. The
video captured the concept that everyone wants to be successful or achieve
monumental goals. That is, right up to
the point that they actually have to do
what those people do.
Success usually comes at the cost
of years and years of early mornings,
late nights and working through most
weekends. We tend to look at successful people who are living a life of
luxury and don’t realize what it took
to get there. This also applies to goals.
Perhaps you have fantasized about
completing a marathon or an Ironman,
but then realize the training involved
and put that idea back on the shelf.
As I was pondering the message
behind this video, it hit me like a freight
train! We do seminars all over North
people leaving a seminar or getting off
the phone are excited and want to be a
lean company. Here lies the correlation:
“Everybody wants to be lean, until they
have to do what lean thinkers do.”
Who doesn’t love the idea of having
a great company culture, engaged
workforce, processes improving daily,
and a cleaner and more organized
shop? SIGN ME UP!
But when you see a lean company,
think of a duck on the water. On the
surface it looks calm and graceful, but
under the water their feet are going
like crazy! Let’s talk about some of the
factors you may not be considering yet,
what’s going on just below the surface.
It’s all about leadership. Most of
us are pretty quick to point out the
shortcomings of our organizations, and
it’s pretty rare to hear someone include
themselves on that list. A lean leader
knows they are the problem. They are
acutely aware their organization is a
direct reflection of them. If you think
your people are the problem, think
again. You might actually have a few bad
apples, but they did not put themselves
there, you hired them, you noticed they
were bad apples, and you haven’t done
anything about it yet. So, it’s still your
fault they’re not performing.
Early on my lean adventure I got
some sound advice when it came to
having the wrong people. Admitting it
was my fault they were not performing,
my trusted advisor simply said, “You’re
right, it is your fault. Now how much
longer are you going to let it be your
fault.” I took prompt corrective action
and was much better off for it.
To illustrate this next point I will use
“Everybody wants to be a beast”
a quote from one of my favorite books,
“ 2 Second Lean” by Paul Akers. Paul says
“Show me your check book, and I will
show you what you value.” If you are a
leader in an organization, you have prob-
ably gone to trade shows, plant tours,
business trips and training seminars. But
when was the last time you sent some of
your people on such excursions?
by Brad Cairns
email@example.com LEAN JOURNEYS
There is no such thing as overnight success including in lean manufacturing.
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Brad Cairns is the senior principal at The Center for Lean
Learning as well as running a woodworking business called
Best Damn Doors in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, where
he puts lean thinking into action every day. You can reach
Brad at 519-494-2883 or firstname.lastname@example.org.