It seems as though I should offer up some seasonal thoughts today: 

The word epiphany is often used to describe a sudden revelation for those struggling to understand TPS.  A good example of this comes from Mike Wroblewski’s excellent blog, Got Boondoggle.  Everyone I know has had these moments, which are perhaps as much emotional as intellectual.  New learning is challenging, and it’s these kind of “aha moments” that spur us on.   Shigeo Shingo noted that while understanding derives from intellect, action is driven by emotion.   Shingo’s comment, which sort of describes an epiphany, was an epiphany for me at one point just as Webster describes it, “a sudden manifestation of the essential nature or meaning of something.”   The word itself derives from Greek meaning “manifestation.”   As it relates to the holiday season, Epiphany is the time shortly after Christmas when Christians believe three kings visited Jesus in Bethlehem; that is, Christ was manifested to them – epiphany. 

Of course this particular event would not be an epiphany to everyone:  Meaning no disrespect to my religion (Christianity), a Jewish friend of my daughter’s commented to her recently as they were shopping that the mall had placed a “petting zoo” in the lobby.  This was actually a live Nativity scene.  He had no idea – no epiphany there.  

The point is that epiphanies may be emotionally and intellectually compelling to some, but meaningless to others.  As change leaders we are seeking a shared vision.  Single point epiphanies are more likely to scare people than inspire them. Or to put another way, if you’re the only one with the vision, you may be asked to have your head examined.  (See my December 17, 2010 blog “Heroic Accounting, Part 1, for an example of this.) 

To those of you who will celebrate Christmas tomorrow I want to sincerely wish you a joyous day—and to everyone a nice relaxing day off from work (no Muri).  If you have ten minutes to spare, two movie clips from this holiday season represent the raw emotion of epiphany:  “It’s a Wonderful Life” and  “Scrooged” (fast forward to 4:50 on this clip.)  See if you can share their epiphanies.   

 What epiphanies have you had on your lean journey?   Please share them with us.

This entry was posted in old lean dude, lean manufacturing, GBMP, Toast Kaizen, kaizen, hoshin kanri, TPM, 5S, poka-yoke, lean in healthcare, toyota production system, made in america, shigeo shingo, made in the usa, value stream mapping on December 24 , 2010.