Don’t be Satisfied…

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Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing thoughts | Gemba Panta Rei

Good post from Jon Miller here on his blog. He's right, most companies and leaders (especially before lean) don't want to admit their problems or weaknesses. Corporate pride, if you will (see General Motors). So, when implementing lean, it is natural for the pendulum to swing back in the other direction, with the risk of overcorrection taking place.

Jon says:

“…be dissatisfied. If you are a true believer in kaizen, hang up a sign reading “Be dissatisfied in the work you do.” That is one key to a Lean culture.”

He is right. One thing I am constantly amazed with about Toyota is how they are always very hard on themselves and admit their problems. The executives talk like this and you hear it from people on the tour at NUMMI. They don't cover up their problems. Being able to identify and admit your problem is the first step to solving it.

I do think it's worthwhile to think about keeping some balance. You can't always just talk about your problems. You should take time out to celebrate your successes and feel good about what you're doing… then get over yourselves and get back to fixing problems.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. His latest book has been released as an "in-progress" book, titled Measures of Success.

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