Two Lean Journeys

People often talk about their “Lean journey,” a never-ending quest for learning and improvement. But if you look closely, you will see that there are actually two Lean journeys.

Lean Journeys1

Most people are on the Lean Journey 1. It is a quasi-random journey with some success and laden with hype. But it is largely a journey of futility because people are focused on gaining ever-more information and knowledge about Lean while ignoring realities about leader’s true interests and the unlikelihood of Lean transformation. They do not want to acknowledge the possibility that their hard work and dedication to Lean management could be for naught. Most likely it will.

Mr. Eiji Toyoda, in retelling story of a Buddhist monk, spoke these words:

“The monk said, ‘The human lifetime is made up of an accumulation of time. So one hour is a part of that person’s lifetime; in other words, it is his or her life itself.’ So, when we hire our employees to work for our company, we purchase their life for the duration of the time they spend with us. The employees are offering a very important part of their life to us. If we don’t use their time effectively, we are wasting their lives.”

Source: As retold by Teruyuki Minoura, former President and CEO, Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc., May 2002

Lean practitioners are a type of “employee” of the Lean movement. Lean movement leaders may not care if they do not use your time effectively and waste your lives, but I do.

Lean Journey 2 is the journey that everyone should be on. It is consistent with lifelong learning and improvement, aligned with kaizen thinking, and has a better chance of yielding the desired results. To get on Lean Journey 2 you need to know, in detail, why most leaders resist or reject Lean management and the eight categories of preconceptions that prevent needed progress in both management thinking and practice. Knowing this will enable you to think of new ideas to try.

Click on the image below to learn more about that books that you need to read to quickly get yourself onto Lean Journey 2.

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