I heard this in a meeting today “When times are tough you make better decisions.” I wonder if this is true. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this means something similar.
A common Toyota saying is 「困らなければ知恵が出ない」 (komaranakereba chie ga denai) which means “You won’t use your brains unless you have problems.” Ohno used this title for one of the chapters in Gemba Keiei titled Your Wits Don’t Work Until You Feel the Squeeze in this blog.
Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter wrote in Leading Change that the first step in a successful transformation is to create a sense of urgency.
On the other hand Taiichi Ohno also wrote in Gemba Keiei to “do kaizen when times are good” because in tough times you may be forced to cut the muscle and not just the fat.
So one of the central challenges of becoming Lean is how to create a sense of “tough times” even when times are good, and to use the truly tough times to focus your thinking and use your brains to make tough decisions and improvements, free of distractions and “happy” decisions you can make when you are making lots of money.
What do you think? When times are tough, do you make better decisions? Or do people make short-term decisions which are not better?