The other day while thinking of Lean and what it really means to be on the path or journey to continuous improvement I wrote the following poem:
The Lean Path
With open mind, I cultivate learning
With open eyes, I go see the opportunity
With open heart, I display humility
With passion, improve the world.
I believe this poem captures well my thoughts on Lean in simple way. Let me elaborate.
In my opinion being open minded is one of the most important traits for individuals to have in a Lean environment. Without an open mind problem solving and learning will be more difficult and therefore delay your pursuit of excellence.
An open mind leads to new possibilities. New possibilities lead to new thoughts and experiences. New thoughts and experiences lead to growth. Therefore an open mind is important to our personal growth.
Being open-minded also helps us with problem solving. First it helps us look at more than one way to approach a problem; then we find more expansive, ways of solving it. When we give ourselves more options, better solutions are undoubtedly more available to us. Keeping an open mind means that you are open to all possibilities.
Learning begins with humility. The more you strive for Lean, the more you realize how little you know, and how much there is yet to learn. A sure sign of impending failure is a manager who claims to "know it all" or says "we have tried that…"
Passion is the driving force that enables people to attain far more than they ever imagined. This enthusiasm is literally the fuel that propels you toward success. Passion allows you to think, feel, focus, act, attract and create the events conditions and circumstances that you most desire to see you through difficult times. Passion is what propels you to begin taking the necessary action steps that will allow you to begin changing your current situation.
Lean is a journey that never ends. There will always be a gap between where you are (current state) and where you would like to be (True North). Since there will always be a gap, there will always be an opportunity to improve. The road to continual improvement can be a rocky one with many ups and downs. Failure will occur. Its ok, the purpose is learning, and we learn through experimentation. Trying new approaches, exploring new methods and testing new ideas for improving the various processes is exercise for the mind.
Toyota has taught us that Lean goes beyond just making cars. Our goal should go farther than making our work easier and improving our businesses. We can improve the world. Many businesses and leaders have made their mark through Lean thinking for generations to come.
I have shared my Lean poem but what poem would you write to share the essence of Lean with others?