Lean Begins With Interest

shutterstock_400054231.jpgIt would be an understatement to say that my high school years were less than stellar. It really was a tough go for me for a variety of reasons and challenges, most of which were of my own making.  For certain, though, nobody ever accused me of being lazy. In fact, if I go back into my files, I recall the firmly established family statement of “Robert appears to have an overabundance of unproductive enthusiasm.”

To be sure, I was enthusiastic as a young man, although probably not totally productive as defined by success as a student. Something was missing for me. I had interests, but not for school. I had passions, but not for learning academics. It proved to be a tough go. I made it nonetheless, and my high school graduation was a time for rejoice and an exaggerated sigh of relief for all. Had our technologies been advanced, news of my diploma would have resulted in many tweets and an abundance of likes.

I often chat with my two daughters about their school work (one junior in high school and one sophomore in college). I am amazed by their study disciplines and their highly-directed enthusiasm. Where does it come from I wonder? Truth be told, I find their courses and textbooks interesting, and just like many of us in our 50’s, I travel to the land of melancholy and wish for a redo of my early years as a student. What an amazing student I would be. And not because I would know the techniques to get good marks. Not because I would know how to manipulate and manage the system. No, I would be a passionate learner.  A learner who is cognizant that the gift is not in finishing the course, but rather in embracing the knowledge that the course offers up in a benevolent and selfless transfer.

The Lean Learner

A common comparison for a lean culture is that of a learning culture. That is, a lean culture is an environment where all members of the organization strive to learn every day, to identify and solve problems, to uncover and gain deep knowledge of processes, to be passionate about what the customer sincerely values relative to our products and services, and to generate that value with the least amount of effort.

To learn is to acquire knowledge or a skill through study, instruction, or experience. But, what does it take to truly be a life learner?  A common answer is passion … which I am in complete agreement; however, I believe passion is an output which requires an input. That is, passion is the Y in the equation and is dependent on multiple X’s.

The most important X for me is interest. To truly and sincerely embrace learning, to become passionate about a topic, we need to be interested in the discussion. The topic, concept, or principle should be nothing short of fascinating to us for true sustained learning to take place.

The lean community is filled with extremely interested and interesting people. We are students, teachers, mentors, mentees, and coaches all wrapped up in one blanket. The lessons are far and wide, the conversations are riddled with passion because of the interest taken. Because of our fascination for the topic.

I, and many others, can attest firsthand that we have seen CEOs and executives take an interest in developing of people, fixing underperforming processes, and implementing and sustaining aligned cultures of continuous improvement.

And so, the question is, what are you doing to get people interested?

 

Posted by Robert Martichenko

Robert is CEO of LeanCor Supply Chain Group. He is also a speaker and award-winning author of several business books - including "Discovering Hidden Profit" and his first novel - "Drift and Hum." Robert has spent over 25 years learning and implementing lean and operational excellence with a focus on end-to-end supply chain management across a wide array of industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and an MBA.

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Lessons in Lean : Lessons in Leadership - The Blog

There is no question that building an organizational culture of continuous improvement is a progressive evolution that takes time. In this blog, Robert Martichenko discusses his lessons learned while building these cultures in our new world of constant disruption - sharing key knowledge that will lead today’s business leaders down the path toward discovering hidden profit. 

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