Yes, the two pillars of the Toyota Production System – JIT and Jidoka – are absolutely worthless… if you don’t respect people.
You see, in my opinion, anyone who tries hard enough and gets support from more experienced people can make things flow, implement kanban, and even get pretty good at more advanced lean tools like heijunka. But it all starts with respecting people. And this is sometimes tough.
I try my best to always be a nice person. And while I am not afraid to “get on” people from time to time when I feel they need it I always try to handle these situations respectfully.
But, alas, I know I have a long ways to go with this respecting people principle. Here some of the things I personally struggle with.
- When asked a question I typically respond with an answer. This has more to do with my lack of humilty. Instead of always shooting off my mouth with an answer perhaps I should ask the person what they think the answer is first?
- I grow impatient with people too easily. At work I am quite aggressive. I have little to no patience for people who work slow. But what I don’t realize is my speedy ways sometimes gets me into trouble and I could probably stand to slow down once in awhile.
- I swear too much. Now I used to be MUCH worse about this than I am now. And while I never use harsh words such as those that rhyme with puck and pitch… I do let words that start with s and sound like hit loose far too often. For one, this is totally unprofessional, and for two who knows who I may be offending. Swearing is never respectful and I need to stop it.
- I am not always nice to cashiers and fast food clerks. Right… what the hell (see! I can’t stop swearing) does this have to do with being good at lean? Well, I think it has everything to do with it. I don’t subscribe to the fact you can “turn off” your lean thinking when you leave the plant or office. Especially when it comes to respecting people. So, yes, at times I probably don’t smile and say thank you enough to the nice lady who has been on her feet for 9 hours scanning cans of soup. I guess I am sometimes too wrapped up in my own little world to recognize the immense value people like her add to society. Heck, it was people like her that influenced the Toyota Production System far more than I ever have (i.e. Supermarket pull system).
So, as you can see I have a long way to go with the whole aspect of respecting people. But I do have a plan.
For starters I am going to do my best to not give out answers so easily. And I am going to slow down a little from time to time while not being so impatient with others. Next, I am going to really try to stop all the potty talk. And last, but definitely not least, I am going to smother every cashier and fast food clerk I see with genuine kindness and respect for the great things they do for my community.
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