A Washington DC Lean Tour: Part 3

Here is part #3 of our DC lean tour, having already visited the National Museum of American History.

I already have one Presidential quote that is somewhat lean related. I use it in the context of management needing to go visit the “gemba” (actual place, usually the shopfloor) to see what is really going on.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field. — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Now I think he was criticizing the old Soviet centrally-planned economy, but the same quote could apply to Washington leaders today and even the execs of our manufacturing companies.

Here is a second quote now, one I saw at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial.

Now, FDR was talking about unemployment and the Great Depression. But think about the quote in the context of lean and your organzation. Lean and TPS teach us to respect all employees and to help get the most out of the ability, both for the sake of the organization and for their own personal development and satisfaction. I’d argue that UNDERemployment, meaning that people aren’t getting to contribute fully, is hurting most companies. Underutilization of the brainpower in our organization costs us an immeasurable amount each year.

Maybe we could re-tool the quote:

“No company, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization cause vast underutilization is our greatest extravagance. Morally it is the greatest menace to our organizations.”

What do you think?

Move on next to Stop #4 on the DC Lean Tour
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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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