Healthy Addictions

I was working in my home office this morning, about 9 AM. It’s icy, cold, rainy here in Texas. It was below freezing and raining, yet here comes a jogger running down the street.

I thought, wow, she’s nuts. I’m not a runner. But, I always hear of the addiction to running and the “high” you get from it. It’s mostly a healthy addiction, I guess. What impressed me was that this runner was so dedicated (or addicted) that she would (or had to) run in such lousy conditions.

I was working on lean stuff (not the Blog, but the day job). I guess I’m addicted to lean (or the Blog, as some have wondered). I love the feeling of helping others make improvements. I love seeing the light bulbs go off when you teach people to see things in a lean way. I love making things better and seeing improvements take shape. That’s addicting and it gets to the point where it’s fun and it doesn’t feel like work to think about it and plan on a Sunday morning.

I thought about “bad conditions” and wondered about all of the lean sites I’ve worked in (back in the manufacturing world) and the sites I’ve heard about where managers moved away from lean when times got bad or stressful (this is a very common complaint). That was always a real shame, because we backtracked or sent a bad message to the organization about lean, by not having a constancy of purpose. The organization wasn’t yet “addicted” to lean where they had to do lean even if it was tough or if we had the equivalent of freezing rain in the business.

Are you addicted to lean? Would you have stayed home today or jogged in the ice?

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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 book 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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2 Comments

  1. rich says

    I as well love helping people and improving processes…there is little in life that is more rewarding. This said, I must admit that at 9AM on Sunday mornings (rain, shine, or ice and snow) I am on my way to church with my family. I haven’t found a better way to help people and make the world a better place! Life is physical (jogging in the sleet), mental (learning and applying the lessons), and spiritual (worship and service). I guess you could call that the “Lean Life System!”

  2. Anonymous says

    Addicted…in my case to the TWI strain of Lean…careful it can happen to anyone.

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