By Jon Miller | Post Date: September 29, 2008 9:35 PM | Comments: 1
Mike Wroblewski brought back more than a kimono from his benchmarking trip to Japan. His souvenir was of far greater value. In Japanese it is called the spirit of wa, or harmony. There is a great real life story on Mike's Got Boondoggle? blog where he models the ideal behavior of a lean leader. Many of us who practice kaizen have had the experience of eagerly going out to the gemba to observe, time or map a process with the full intention of making it better. Some of us have had the experience of being watched, time, mapped and critiqued. How do we like it?
I can still remember from a decade ago the expressions of horror on the faces of the kaizen team members when the stop watch came out of my naive pocket while on the shop floor of an aerospace company in the Northeastern part of the U.S. There was an almost unmentionable degree of union-management friction at this company, just beneath the surface, somehow kept secret from (or by) the people who had convinced us to spend a week there helping to solve delivery problems. Stop watches were as rare on the shop floor as were senior management, for a reason. We weren't able to handle that situation as smoothly as Mike did on his value stream mapping project.
Most of us wouldn't hunt on other people's land without permission, or pick the corn from a field you didn't own, or walk into a stranger's house and use the telephone. How different is that from acknowledging that the space where many people spend a third of more of their adult lives - the workplace -deserves equal deference? We should show the respect for the people whose workplace we are stepping into with the intention of picking the corn. Take the time to communicate and connect person to person so that stopwatches and the ideas they represent are less of a threat. There is never a bad harvest or unsuccessful hunt in the field of ideas if we live in harmony with it.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.