Improvement is not optional

Progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations.

Ohno Taiichi (大野耐一, Ōno Taiichi

What Mr Ohno describes in this quote is a core belief of Lean. It’s about the fundament of Kaizen, the idea that things can always be improved.

It also talks about something which for many people can be quite frustrating at first. We should never be satisfied. We should never hit our goals. We’ll never be done. It’s called continuous improvement.

In many lean transformations this needs to click in with people. And with some it never will. Maybe it’s Western thing, maybe it’s a generational thing. Work hard, save money and you will get there. Do your best in school and you’ll make it. The reward is always something within reach and it will come after a certain amount of time, effort or both.

The idea of Lean, and I guess this is an Eastern thing, is that the act of improvement is the reward in itself. It’s not about the goals, it’s about the journey. And that definitely clicks with me.

Photo by Mukuko Studio on Unsplash

And if it isn’t on the philosophical level that it clicks with you, maybe it’s because everyone else is improving. What’s good today will not be good enough tomorrow. Markets change, customer needs change.

Looking for change?

Let’s make sure you change for the better.