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Friday, July 24, 2015

Lean Quote: No One is Perfect...That's Why Pencils Have Erasers

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.

"No one is perfect... that's why pencils have erasers. Wolfgang Riebe

Perfection is futile.  To be sure, perfection is the goal but it can not be achieved in one single initiative.

If we all waited for perfection, we'd still be reading by candlelight and riding horses to work. The problem in the real world is that nothing is perfect. It sounds obvious, but it is not quite as obvious.

If you try to achieve perfection you may well be at the kaizen a very long time.  Perfection is elusive.  If you can accomplish 80% of what you set out to and meet the goals of the charter then call it complete.  You will be back to improve from this new state again.

A paper and pencil is an indispensable asset to any lean practitioner. You can take notes on observations from the Gemba, document a process flow, record data, create standard work, and more. I would never leave home without it. You can’t remember everything so it is better to write it down.

Some software programs help you draw maps and perform many data manipulations. In my opinion, you should learn to draw it by hand first, because it will help you better understand the methodology. By putting pencil to paper, you emerge yourself in the mapping process, and that’s how it becomes real. Yes, it may seem like a struggle at first, but with practice it becomes easier. The day you can grab a piece of paper, start discussing a problem with a colleague, and draw a map is the day you really start to understand the power of mapping.

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