Friday, April 18, 2014

Lean Quote: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.— William Shedd

Ships aren't built so they can sit there in a harbor. Ships are built for sailing and adventures in the sea. There may be risks, but hey, that's what the ship was made to do. Much like a person can be safe and comfortable with status quo, but that's not the point of improvement. The point of continuous improvement is to explore and challenge our understanding, not to mindlessly accept what we have always done.

Leaders need to challenge their employees to move out of their comfort zone. You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Moving beyond our comfort zones is how we can best learn and grow. The challenge is to resist our normal human instinct to seek comfort rather that discomfort. The key is to continually push beyond the comfort zone and drive continuous improvement to develop and strengthen your Lean thinking.

So when it comes to getting outside your comfort zone, don’t mistake magical outcomes for magical processes. Adaptation takes time, effort, strategy, and determination. But with a solid plan in place and the courage to take it forward, your results can be extraordinary.

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