The Courage to Try

I was recently speaking with a Gemba Academy customer who’s looking to start a small lean consulting company. I’ll call this person Bob for the sake of this article.

About Bob

Bob explained that he doesn’t have a college degree but does have many years of practical, real world, experience.

Bob has also sought, and received, a lot of continuous improvement training (lean and six sigma) on his own. As such, Bob seems to really know his stuff.

The Most Important Characteristic

As we continued our discussion Bob asked if I had any advice on how to best deal with clients once the consulting engagement begins.

The main thing I explained was how important it is to be confident in your skills and advice.

I also explained what I believe is the most important characteristic any lean or six sigma practitioner can have. And this characteristic is to always have the courage to try.

Having the Answers

You see, contrary to popular belief, the best lean and six sigma practitioners don’t have all the answers… but they do have the courage to seek solutions through problem solving and root cause analysis.

Furthermore, the best lean teachers are those who understand the simple statement, “What do you think?” may just be the most powerful reply to any question they receive.

Finally, the best teachers I’ve ever had are those who aren’t afraid to try and fail since, as Sir Winston Churchill once explained, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

What do you think?

What other bits of advice do you have for Bob? I’ll be sure to send him a link to this article and I know he’ll appreciate learning from your wisdom and advice.

So what do you think?

2 Comments

  1. Rick foreman

    December 2, 2011 - 7:40 am

    A couple of things come to mind. Operate with confidence, while maintaining a strong sense of humility. In addition, I would seriously consider a structure in which a long term relationship can be sustained with the customer base. It seems more and more folks in the lean world are coming to the realization that organizational change involves as much behavioral aspects, as the tool focus. One might consider, “How can I connect with an organization and provide services over a 3-5 year span?”

    The need certainly exists and I wish the best for all who engage in the journey.

  2. Adi Gaskell

    December 23, 2011 - 6:00 am

    It’s a bit of a bind though isn’t it? The courage to try things could be flipped round to be the courage to fail in pursuit of the right way, yet at the same time you’re trying to implement something that sets out to eliminate failure.