I’m not fully self-aware of all the factors that contributed to my nearly year-long delinquency between posts. Therefore I’m not aware of what may have shifted within me to trigger a new one. And I won’t bore you (or myself) to death with a deep reflection analysis. The one thing out of many that I can put a high degree of certainty on is that I think I missed teaching people.
I had the opportunity the other week at work to teach an Introduction to Lean class to a group that was just beginning their lean journey. (Yes, at least 7 years in from initial pilot areas and we still have groups just getting started! It’s a big company and a long journey…) We covered many of the basics – from waste to mindsets to standard work to visual management to 5S to problem solving. We had a wide mix of lean experience in the class. What I loved about that mix was that the newbies learned by hearing the stories from their colleagues, and the more experienced folks learned by teaching the newbies by answering their questions themselves, and throwing in a war story here and there.
I also enjoyed preparing for the class. Typically I review the teaching deck, highlight key points I want to drive home, write down probing questions to ask them about the material, note a few war stories of my own to share, and really think through the process of the exercises we will put them through.
That’s one of the most challenging tasks there is – how do you design an exercise that can be controlled to fit in a short amount of time yet still allow creative thinking, drive home key learning points through experience, and have a little fun so they remember it, it sticks, and they want to apply it in their daily work? I’ve been a part of a few of those over the years, and I’m grateful to the teachers I had who either put the effort in to design such an exercise or were just plain talented enough to make it up as they went.
The intro class reminded me of how much work there is to be done, not just in my company but beyond, in order to continue to wage a relentless war on waste. And it reminded me how much fun it was to begin to open up people’s eyes to both see those wastes for what they are, and to begin to teach them how they can attack them.
So I think what this means for me is a foray back into the world of blogging, creating content that hopefully creates a spark of interest in learning more about lean thinking in someone, and teaching again.
Have you taught someone recently? If not, remember to take on the next opportunity that presents itself. Every interaction with someone is an chance to teach!