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Friday, April 30, 2021

Lean Quote: Seek Perfection

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.

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.  —  Vince Lombardi

The Shingo principle seek perfection is about challenging the status quo; always wanting to be better and do better. While perfection will never be obtained, the pursuit of perfection creates a mindset and culture of continuous improvement.

Challenging the status quo is the very essence of kaizen. Good enough is never enough! No process is perfect and a leader should always be looking for a process where perfection is required. Perfection is possible only when a leader is observant.

While we tend to think of perfectionism as being incompatible with an open mind and a questioning mentality, they not only go together but are an integral aspect of Lean leadership and Lean organizations. The Lean leader is not focused on momentary success, but on continuous improvement. Everything that is done well can be done better, with more efficiency and a less wasteful process.

For this, a decent amount of time must be spent in Gemba. Striving for perfection does not imply that we must make the processes more complicated. Simplicity is the key. The leader needs to have a daily routine of simplification and develop an eye for finding waste.

Seeking perfection is about constantly looking for opportunities to get better. It is helpful to set attainable goals and work diligently towards achieving them. When everyone is working together to achieve goals the continuous improvement mindset will spread.

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