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One year ago today I started A Lean Journey and I thought some hansei was in order. Hansei is Japanese for "self-reflection". It is the practice of continuous improvement that consists of looking back and thinking about how a process can be improved. Without hansei you stop learning.
It is important to go back and revisit the beginning. I had been following a number of bloggers like Mike Wroblewski, Jon Miller, Ron Pereira, Mark Graban, Joe Ely, Kevin Meyer and Bill Waddell, Jamie Flinchbaugh, and Lee Fried before I started. These authors really inspired me to try a blog of my own. There seemed to be a number of sites from proven Lean consultants or primarily on healthcare topics and I thought I could contribute from a manufacturing perspective.
I entered this endeavor more than a little naïve. I can honestly say I had no knowledge of blogging, social media, web page design, html code, or anything else essential to blogging. In the beginning there was no plan just a willingness to make it happen. Writing is not something that comes easy for me. It may or may not be obvious but I have to work at it. This was a real phobia to overcome. Seriously, how do you blog if writing is a weakness. Like most lessons in life, with practice and hard work comes improvement.
Quickly, I realized I needed a plan. It was one of those why aren't you using Lean Thinking moments. So I set a relatively easy goal for the first year. Increase the number of repeat visitors each month. You may say, why this goal? Well, it was really a build something from nothing kind of thinking.
What I didn't realize was the tremendous learning experience this year would be. First, you learn more when you write about Lean so that others can understand what you are talking about you. Second, I have met so many great Lean Thinkers this year. That dialogue and interaction has created a whole new learning environment that I was not previously fully utilizing. Third, learning about blogging, creating online content, and various social media platforms has been a great asset. This has allowed me to work with AME (Association for Manufacturing Excellence) on utilizing social media at the national and local levels to support learning and best practice sharing. Fourth, I really enjoy blogging. I am glad that I got the courage to try this without knowing how or what to expect.
A number of people have been very supportive in this past year and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledging them. For those, I previously mentioned thanks for inspiration and support. In no particular order, John Hunter, Brian Buck, Jeff Hajek, Karen Wilhelm, Pete Abilla, Ankit Patel, JC Gatlin, Evan Durant, Liz Guthridge, Dan Markovitz, Mark Hamel, Jim Baran, Tony Manos, Jason Semovoski, Jeff Hoffstetter, Jon Wetzel, and Dragan Bosnjak were helpful over my first year. A couple other notable mentions for support is Andy Novotny, AME Northeast Region Director; Scott Schiave, AME Marketing and Communications Director; and Kate Shane, graphic designer. I would also like to thank my wife Jennifer, children, and my mother and father for moral support when I took on more than I could handle at times.
Even in this short year I have seen a number of blogs come and go. I mark this first year as successful. I accomplished something new and received rewards of friendship that I did not expect.
Now going forward I know I have a lot more to learn. You likely will see more of the same from me in the second year. I will be reaching out to more Lean thinkers in the community to dialogue and share ideas. I will highlight this in the coming year.
As we learn in Lean we need to add value to the customer. I want this blog to add value to the readers and the Lean community at large. Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated. Share your ideas on topics or ask questions you want answered. Leave comment below or email directly.