Your 2016, good year or bad one? Part I: A matter of perspective (#28)

Today’s subject: The first of a two-parter about looking backwards and forward

The chances are that a fair number of you will have limped into the festive break. A limp bought about by the tiring burden of another year promoting lean to improve your businesses. This Sisyphean “pushing water uphill” task is not helped if you have the obligatory 'never satisfied' mind-set. Layer on top the humility to understand that you STILL know nothing in the grand scheme of things, and you have yourself a recipe for persistent low level discontent.

If the paragraph above describes you, the good news is that you’re probably a strong lean thinker/doer. Kaizen was never meant to be a relaxing pastime, but it needs some perspective to avoid a descent into madness. Knowing that you’ll never reach the end means embracing the Pascal Dennis mantra of “every day a little up”. The bad news is that there’s no cure, but there is a way to alleviate the symptoms. So, before you start mentally listing the items you didn’t achieve this year, consider the following seriously intended point.

In December I booked a few days free in the diary to review recent activities, prepare for a busy first quarter next year and catch up on some things. I naturally work best in the soothing ambient noise of coffee shops so spent a few mornings in my local Costa Coffee. Perhaps 25 years of factories means ambient noise has become a prerequisite for personal productivity.

On Dec 2nd I noticed, in the toilets, the poster at the top of this article complete with rip off tabs. It advertises a local helpline for domestic abuse, which as I’m sure you know, tends to spike at Christmas. Families spend an abnormal amount of time together in the crucible of historic grudges, resentments and alcohol.

I live in a small town of circa 10,000 people and noticed that, by Dec 15th, five of the tabs had gone and by the 20th all ten had been detached, with a new poster in situ.

I'm a lucky man in that my adult Christmases are overwhelmingly joyful affairs. This poster served to remind me that whatever my failures this year, they matter little in the order of things. My point is to encourage you to NOT wallow in the depths of a critical lean review but look forward, acknowledging your mistakes whilst committing to do a little better next year. After all, for most of us it could be a lot worse.

If you're outside Derbyshire and concerned about Domestic Violence, these people can help or, at least, signpost where help is. I hope you've all had a safe and Happy Christmas. Part II, looking forward to 2017, in a day or two.


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