"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." — Michael Jordan
Too often improvement is left to chance and the ingenuity of the willing to eke out small pockets of time — and make magic happen. We all know these people. They see the vision burning brightly before them and are determined to make it happen. Time and again, these people prove — with their own mental, emotional, and physical health — the familiar adage: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
In a sad and important way, these quiet heroes do their companies and the rest of us some bit of harm. When they make magic happen, they unintentionally send the message that improvement time is not needed. Wise, indeed, is the company that sees through this double-think and takes steps to establish an improvement policy nevertheless.
Improvement doesn’t just happen. It takes time, and in the pressure pot of our day to day activities, there is never enough time to improve our situation. The structure of Lean permits and requires time be set aside for improvement. If managers do not definitively provide time for the task of improvement, then people will know that they are not serious about making improvement a formal part of the work.
Most of us don't set aside time in the day, much less the week, just to improve. It doesn't take much time or skill, mainly just will. We need to be encouraged and reminded that it only takes a few minutes to do kaizen. Without assistance from management, people have no good way to make time for improvement within the workday.