LeadershipLeanSix Sigma

Planting Seeds

By Ron Pereira Updated on January 13th, 2011

Sowing SeedsWhat can we learn about continuous improvement from the person Christian’s call the King of King’s, Lord of Lord’s, and The Great I AM?  Lots.  Let’s start in the book of Matthew.

And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.

Yep. Been there, got the t-shirt. There are lots of people who seem to take great joy in seeing others struggle. As soon as you have an idea, they have 5 reasons it won’t work hoping you will just go away.

The answer? Don’t go away. Give it a try. If you fail, so what. Try again and fail better.

Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.

Ah, yes. A manager reads the book Lean Thinking and decides James Womack is his ticket to stardom. So the manager sends a few of his guys (he is too busy of course) to a workshop and expects inventory turns to double the following week. It doesn’t quite work out. He’s frustrated.

He then reads The Goal and realizes that, of course, lean manufacturing stinks and that the old wily fox, Eli Goldratt, has all the answers.

The problem isn’t the “methodology” of choice. Lean works. TOC works. Six Sigma works. They all work when you work them. But don’t expect to read a book and think you’re ready to conquer Goliath. It doesn’t work that way. Toyota has been at it for 50+ years and is still fighting muda (waste) like never before.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

The thorns will always be there. Try to avoid them is the best advice I can offer.  It’s not always possible, but many times it is.

Finally, as with all aspect of life… when the right foundation is in place mighty and powerful things can result.

And as it relates to continuous improvement… laying this foundation is not easy, but it’s also well within reach.  I’ll share some of my thoughts as to how we might go about this foundation development throughout this week. Stay tuned.

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  1. Jeff SKI Kinsey

    July 14, 2008 - 7:35 am

    Ron, exactly: It is not about methodology.

    It is all about getting up out of the la-z-boy and getting to work! For that, it starts with each of us. Hence, my book: Purple Curve Effect. Yep, one more book in a crowded field. That alone does not work… but buying my book; reading my book; applying my book does.

    I look forward to your take on foundations…


  2. Brian Buck

    July 14, 2008 - 8:42 am

    I appreciate how you share your faith while you teach lean! God bless you!

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