Friday, February 12, 2016

Lean Quote: Improvement is Not for the Faint of Heart

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.

"We believe a passion for excellence also carries a price, and we state it simply: the adventure of excellence is not for the faint of heart.— Peters and Austin

Striving for excellence is an ongoing process; it requires a persistent attitude of excellence demonstrated by a continual focus on both the large and small things in our daily work.

It takes special people to lead a company through change. It is not just the direction of action that counts, but sticking to the direction chosen. Effective leaders must keep pushing themselves and others toward the goal. David Glass, CEO of Wal-Mart, says that Sam Walton "has an overriding something in him that causes him to improve every day. . . . As long as I have known him, he has never gotten to the point where he's comfortable with who he is or how we're doing." Walt Disney was described as expecting the best and not relenting until he got it. Ray Kroc, of McDonald's Corporation, was described as a "dynamo who drove the company relentlessly." Kroc posted this inspirational message on his wall:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with great talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence, determination alone are omnipotent.

Persistence, of course, must be used intelligently. Dogged pursuit of an inappropriate strategy can ruin an organization. It is important to persist in the right things. But what are the right things? In today's business climate, they may include the following: satisfying the customer, growth, cost control, innovation, fast response time, and quality. 

Lean excellence is about is about eliminating waste and making the work easier. Lean methods focus on determining ways to improve quality. High quality is essential if lean processes are to function effectively. Lean is also a cultural change and a management system, a transformation that takes time, effort, and persistence. The Lean journey is not an overnight change for any organization. Progress takes persistence and change takes time.



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