In my previous post, I wrote about Opening up and Going Slow. I also gave an example of my own improvement activity at a company I worked with back then. To be honest, I didn’t know about Lean. I was just looking to improve my way of working while helping the customer the best I could.
Only quite recently, in 2013, I started to become interested in Lean. Unfortunately, I am not much of a theoretical student, so it took me some time to actually know what I wanted to learn. Once I knew what I wanted and knew how to get it, I started my own process.
One of my (many) points of attention is how to convert theoretical knowledge into practical knowledge. Another is how to describe ‘what I do’ in a way that people understand what I am talking about. For me, continuous improvement is something I do, not something I read about first and practice it later. I have made decisions based on ‘gut feeling’ often enough, and while I knew the “why”, I wasn’t able to explain it.
So one of the first things I learned is how to explain things. This is an ongoing process, for as I still perfectly understand why I do things, I still struggle with it. Lately, I have taken an interest in the storytelling technique, to improve myself in this aspect.
An other thing I learned quickly is to see. What is happening? Why does it happen? What helped me is that I took Wing Chun lessons for about four or five years and I was lucky to be enabled to learn from those who master this sport. My sifu (Chinese for Sensei) had me sit on a bench, watching other people and asked me questions. Wing Chun is a perfect Lean sport: use only the amount of energy needed and look for the quickest way to prevail. As with Lean working, it takes a lot of practice, though.
Still, I am mostly a doer. I need to do things and I need to experience for the sake of learning and improving. And I find it quite hard to explain what I mean to say.