By Kevin Meyer
After a few weeks of pure mayhem (thankfully positive) at work, culminated by a relaxing trip to Puerto Rico over Christmas to celebrate the folks' 50th anniversary, I'm finally geting my head back above water. Just in time to welcome the new year.
I'm usually not someone who makes formal resolutions as I believe change shouldn't have to wait for arbitrary milestones, but there are a couple of things I'll be focusing on:
1. Simplify. More.
Over the last couple years I (and my wife, and many coworkers) have put considerable effort into simplifying several aspects of life and work. Lots of clothes, books, and even food have been donated. Meetings streamlined, authority delegated, unused "stuff" thrown away. Life and work have become simpler. Time to take it to a whole new level. How? I don't know yet. But driving the elegance of simplcity will be a major focus.
2. Visit the Gemba. More. More effectively.
I generally tour all of the production areas each day, but after re-reading Michael Balle's great book The Lean Manager I've become even more convinced of how important that one activity is to lean. The characters in his novel spend more and more time on the gemba and realize the power of using the gemba walk to lead the problem-solving process itself. Some concepts from the book:
- Go to the gemba first thing in the morning, before being interrupted by email, voicemail, and other distractions.
- Visit three times a day – "wash your hands three times" per Toyota lore.
- Simply stand and observe for minutes, even hours, identifying waste.
- Challenge the process, perform experiments – informal unplanned kaizen.
- Review the hourly boards and scrap bins.
- Solve problems immediately.
From all of us at Evolving Excellence, here's wishing you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!