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Lean Thinking is just Thinking (mostly) (#5)


Not a bad trade off really; a trip to Wagamamas as compensation for fighting through shoppers for the best part of a blustery Saturday morning. As we queued to be seated I took the opportunity to observe the work and simultaneously annoy my children by asking them questions about meaningful work.


I have to be careful of course as their interest wanes rapidly if pushed too far, but I'm determined that my teenagers are able to see rather than just look.


First question from me:


"What's the objective of this kitchen?"


First grunted answer (delivered with a vaguely patronising scowl):


"To make food"


Hmm, I said, "give me more" and after some prompting we got to "to make good quality food" before they sprung the trap...


"As quickly as possible?" I offered casually. "Of course" came the teenage reply.


"Nope, wrong, try again"


We eventually got to "to make good quality food AT THE RIGHT TIME" as nobody wants to be too rushed (unless up against the clock) and not many want their main course with the starter. 


By this time the youngest had jettisoned and busied himself complaining about his mounting hunger. The eldest though, stayed with it and counter-argued that speed still mattered for the business. I agreed of course and curtailed the discussion for the sake of family unity. We did have a brief review of the benefits of long seating benches as flexible capacity to reduce queueing time and improve throughput.


By the way, I'm honestly not this boring usually but I take my chances to coach where I can...which brings me to the point.


Lean Thinking is just honest enquiry. As a leader, you don't need legions of consultants to implement lean, you need all management levels to coach in small ways regularly to allow the blind to see. Twice recently I have turned down work from leaders who wanted to delegate their lean transformations to direct reports (apparently!) less busy. Nonsense.


10 minutes every other day is manageable. "The learning is to be found within the work" John Shook. 


The chilli squid is great by the way.


Russell

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