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Monday Morning Message on Lean – May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010


I thought I would try something new with the blog. Each Monday I will share a quote that has a meaning to Lean practitioners. Then I will add a short message myself. Hopefully these quotes and commentary will be inspirational, allow you to reflect, and possibly share your thoughts or comments with colleagues or on this blog.

Finding Time for Improvement

Shigeo Shingo

“Are you too busy for improvement? Frequently, I am rebuffed by people who say they are too busy and have no time for such activities. I make it a point to respond by telling people, look, you’ll stop being busy either when you die or when the company goes bankrupt.” – Shigeo Shingo

I have noticed that it’s not just me saying “I don’t have enough time to ____ (fill in the blank).” I think we all hit moments where we just don’t have enough time to get everything done that we want to accomplish. Just recently, while working with a talented group of people at a company trying to improve their problem solving skills, I noticed that they did a good job at their initial response. But if they just went a little step further they probably could have prevented the problem from ever occurring again. When I asked why they weren’t able to do this, the most common response is “I don’t have time to.” I felt for them, because I know I’ve been in their shoes.

While pondering this for my own situation, I concluded that I have several options:

  1. Re-prioritize items. If it isn’t important enough I would just have to let it go.
  2. Delegate it to someone else. I would have to see if there is someone else that could do this task for me.
  3. Find another resource to do it. Hire someone, use an intern, and get a consultant or whatever it takes to get it done.
  4. Steal time from somewhere else. Work late; come in early, work Saturday, whatever it takes. Definitely not my preferred method.

How do you respond when someone says “I just don’t have time”? Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks – Tony

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