Having been involved with progressive management for 30 years, and having written a lot (a lot!) about it for 26 years, you may wonder what inspires me to keep going — especially given that I am often a lone voice in the wilderness. This is what inspires me:
- The obvious need for improvement
- My ability to help and support people
- Duty to try to correct copious misunderstandings and widespread confusion
- I have always liked to think and learn
- Kaizen, practiced continuously since July 1994
- Problem-solving, especially those that have long plagued the advancement of progressive management
- Progressive management is a wonderful, never-ending source of ideas
- I love to discover analogies to explain various aspects of progressive management
- Whatever my challenge is, I like to see if I can do it, and see what happens
- Social science is fascinating to me, much more interesting than my engineering education (BS, MS, PhD — all in engineering) and engineering work experiences (10+ years)
- Ongoing professional growth
- The feedback that I get, both positive and negative, which results in bilateral learning
- And, of course, I occasionally get a little bit of inspiration from my valued haters. I really do value them! Their oversights and mistakes, their stubborn intransigence, and their sustained disinterest in my work fuel the production of what they like least: reality, facts, truth, and erosion of their influence. Sorry about that! (And remember, “no blame,” right? Walk the talk; practice hansei instead).
Do you wonder if I ever get tired? I do! Some days I feel like taking a long break. Other days I feel like quitting and moving on. It can feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. The difficulty in getting people to move past the junk Lean that they’ve been fed for years is demotivating. The phrase “it’s an uphill climb” is a huge understatement.
But then it happens: I think of a new idea. A conversation with someone sparks a new thought or two. A reflection generates a new line of inquiry. I read something that inspires me and fills me with new ideas. There is always more to think about, more to write, and more to do.
You, the reader, are the intended beneficiary of my dedicated efforts to understand and improve progressive management thinking and practice. If you follow my work, deeply appreciate your interest. That is another important thing that inspires me to keep going. Thank you so much!