Rick is also extremely passionate about lean… he’s the sort of fellow that gets you all pumped up and ready to make things better after a few minutes of conversation!
Anyhow, during our lunch conversation Rick shared some examples of how he goes about making lean “real” to the people he works with.
In other words, instead of blabbering away like he’s reading a text book he works hard to find ways to relate lean to things folks are familiar with.
The example he shared with me was related to visual management. Specifically, Rick was discussing the importance of the production board where things such as plan versus actual output are documented.
As he explained it, initially, the operators weren’t thrilled with the idea of writing down what they produced on a daily basis. They didn’t see the point.
But rather than pummel them with lean philosophy and words they’d never heard before Rick went back to his desk, thought about the situation, and then got an idea.
His idea was to find an image of a basketball scoreboard as shown above. After printing this image out Rick went back to the gemba, or the place the work is done, and showed the same operator the picture.
Rick then asked the person a simple question, “Who’s winning the game – the home team or the visiting team?” The operator gave him a funny look and replied the home team was winning.
Rick asked the operator if he was sure. The operator insisted the home team was winning.
Rick asked, “How do you know?”
The operator replied, “Because it clearly says they are winning 113 to 99 on the scoreboard.”
Rick then asked the operator how important it is for basketball teams to know the score. The operator replied, “Very important as it will dictate the strategy used during the game.”
Are We Winning?
Rick then asked the operator, “Are we (their company) winning or losing?”
The operator grinned and finally began to see Rick’s point of why keeping track of plan versus actual is so very important.
The thing about this story that truly inspires me is how Rick works so hard to reach his co-workers on a personal level rather than pummeling them as if he were some outsider with no interest in them or the company.
Well done, Rick. Well done.
What do you think?
What do you think of Rick’s approach? Do you do something similar?