Has Lean or Six Sigma Changed your Life?

Mark Graban just posted an article about LEI’s newest book.  Looks to be sort of like the Lean Lexicon but with blog-like quotes.  Mark shared one of the excerpts from the book.

“Lean should not have ‘changed’ anyone’s life! If it has, you’ve done it incorrectly. Lean should be constantly ‘changing’ your life – pushing you to the next level regardless of where you may happen to be today.” — Tom Truxell, Rexnord, Assembly Supervisor, Virginia USA

Amen, Brother

Since I have been studying philosophy as of late I pondered this comment from Mr. Truxell for a bit.  At first glance I was drawn to completely agree with him.  I have long preached how continuous improvement is just that – continuous.  And as such the change, for lack of a better word, should never end.

My Story

On the other hand… I for one can tell you that lean and six sigma have indeed changed my life.  I began my career in an entry level role 13+ years ago and now am a director of manufacturing where I am charged with, among other things, improving things with lean and six sigma.  So to say lean and six sigma have not changed my life is ridiculous.

Man with 4 Kids

Further, if you ask the fellow with 4 kids who still has a job because his company bucked the trend and decided to stay competitive by “getting lean” instead of closing the plant in search of cheap labor I reckon he would tell you lean changed his life.

It’s a Question of Tense

So while I agree with the idea that we are never done improving I do think it’s OK to acknowledge the great things lean and six sigma can do for us as individuals as well as for our companies.

In other words I personally believe it’s healthy to talk about how lean and six sigma have helped us (past tense), are helping us (present tense), and will hopefully continue to help us (future tense).

What do you think?

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3 Comments

  1. Tim Foster

    January 21, 2008 - 8:26 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I am still learning about Lean and Six SIgma but definitely feel better for what I have learned and am really excited about what is in store for me as I continue to learn more.

  2. John Hunter

    January 21, 2008 - 8:43 pm

    I agree with you. A change in your world view can take place. Then you can view the world as an never ending process of improvement (understand to look for system improvements not people to blame, respect people, always strive to improve…). But really that is your new world. Now you live in that dynamic changing world but expect and seek out improvements and possibly even radical new idea.

  3. Jon Miller

    January 22, 2008 - 1:05 am

    Learning lean reroutes circuits in your brain. So in some ways leaning lean does change your life, as most any sort of learning does.
    Learning lean is like learning a language. It helps you perceive things you didn’t before, or perceive them differently.