Tips for Lean Managers

Thankful but Dissatisfied

By Jon Miller Published on November 25th, 2006

Reflecting on this Thanksgiving holiday, I have a lot to be thankful for but I am dissatisfied. It has been a challenging year in many ways, both personally and in business. I am thankful that there are so many problems in front of me that need kaizen. I am dissatisfied with myself in that some of these problems are making a second appearance.
I am thankful that I know about kaizen, and that personal and professional integrity requires that I do something about the problems before me. I am dissatisfied at my level of integrity, as it is clear to me that I am clearly not doing enough kaizen in either area.
Some people say “you should be thankful because…” and then proceed to make a comparison between how things are now and how things were in the bad old days, implying that you should stop complaining. It is particularly disappointing when Lean people like Mark Garnder at the TPM Log do this. That’s a half-step away from complacency. Complain about the status quo, and then do what you can to fix it. Things get better when enough people speak and act.
Even after kaizen things are still “the worst ever” if you have a kaizen mindset. For some people in the world the perceived reality is not far from being the worst it has ever been. If you perceive that things are going great for you, be very thankful, but don’t linger on it, but instead be dissatisfied. Good or bad, things have a way of changing.

  1. Mark Graban

    November 25, 2006 - 6:27 am

    Guilty as charged… I’m a lazy blogger who writes about waste in air travel. I’m with you, Jon…. once you stop complaining about things, you’ve accepted conditions for what they are. Maybe I should be thankful that I don’t live in a cave and don’t have to worry about woolly mammoths attacking me today…. but that’s no reason to just accept things as they are today because “it could be worse.”

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