There’s just one week left before our Northeast region Shingo Conference, so here are some final words about sharing, which is the theme for this year’s conference:
As youngsters, sharing relates very specifically to things that are ours – toys, games, blankets, food, -- the physical parts of our existence. But as adults, sharing is more metaphysical, relating to far more than physical property. At our best we share a vision of the future, consistent values, trusting that each of us will do our part achieve that vision. At a tactical level we share standards as well as problems and solutions. We take good ideas and make them better by sharing. There are means to promote the sharing; things like visual control or standardized work or mistake-proofing. But more importantly there is a social environment that encourages sharing. One top manager confided to me recently, “The day I stopped being defensive about the status quo there was a breakthrough for our entire organization.”
How do we overcome that defense of the status quo? In my own experience as a student of Lean, the best learning has come from sharing – giving and receiving, discourse between teacher and student: A plant tour, a discussion with a peer from another company – and sometimes a completely off-the-wall idea from an employee, which turns out to be brilliant. These are the opportunities for sharing that are available to us when we dare, as Shigeo Shingo said, to “keep an open mind.” A respected colleague related to me once, “I spend most of my waking hours only semi-conscious; only when I’m sharing with others do I wake up fully.”
Do you have a need to wake up some minds in your organization? Or would you just like to recharge your own batteries? In the Lean community the expression “steal shamelessly” is understood to mean sharing. We invite you join us on September 25-26 to steal from and share with peers in our Lean Lounge, as well as from Lean leaders in our industry and healthcare tracks.