Help Your Lean Implementation By Winning the Lottery

I was driving down the interstate on my way to work a few days ago when I caught a glimpse of the lottery billboard.  It was advertising the jackpot to be $200 million.  My mind wondered to what it would be like to walk away with $50 million of that money after the one time payout and taxes.  A house on the beach, playing lots of golf, enjoying time with my kids…..becoming bored out of my gourd.

As much as I would just love to retire, I know myself and only being in my 30’s I would get very bored.  I need to keep myself busy.  Lean is a passion so what better way to stay busy than to keep working and help others continue to implement lean.

Next I started thinking about my current job.  What would it be like to have absolutely no worries about money?  I am sure there would be different discussions I would have with people at work than I do today.

Be completely honest with yourself and ask if you would go about everything the same way you do now if you had not worries about money.

I know in the ideal state we would say financial security doesn’t change the way I do my job.  We want everyone around us, especially at higher levels of management to be open and honest.  Be able to accept coaching and candid feedback from people reporting to them.  Not hold a single thing said or done against us because we know everything is done with positive intention.

But lets be honest, that isn’t reality.  I am able to have a lot of open and honest conversations, but I also have to be political and go about things within the culture of my company.  There is an underlying concern to make sure that I continue to receive a paycheck and grow my career so that I can provide for my family, send my kids to college, and put a roof over their head.

Having to watch how I say when talking to certain people so I am honest but political and tip-toeing is very draining.  Having to understand and try several methods to get a message to senior leadership without concern for what may happen, real or imagined, is hard to do and takes more time and adds waste to the process.

Take out the risk of needing to maintain financial security and some conversations get more direct and to the point.  If you didn’t have to worry about money, would you worry about trying to make sure people though well of you because you need to keep a paycheck coming in, especially in the current economy?

Think about Bob from “The Gold Mine.”  He was retired and didn’t need any money so he said freely what he needed to say.  He wasn’t worried that he might get fired, because if they didn’t want his help, so what.

Would your conversations be different in some cases if you had financial security?

Now go buy a lottery ticket.

Posted on June 17, 2011, in Culture, Leadership, Respect for People and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “Open and honest communication” often finds its place on a list of values below the company mission or vision statement. Although the intention is written, it is seldom acknowledged or practiced as suggested by your post. Candor and transparency do not lag very far behind.

    I believe that a truly lean culture is founded on mutual respect for individuals and serves to provide a safe place to openly communicate ideas and suggestions or to even challenge the status quo. The absence of such a culture is cause for people to adhere to the current practices and “code of conduct” to protect their financial interests for fear of losing their job.

    In today’s economy where unemployment levels remain high, people are inclined to say what others want to hear instead of what is true, right, or wrong. For some countries where unemployment levels are improving, they are only doing so in other fields and industries. Manufacturers are certainly not growing in Canada and threats of further cuts are still looming.

    I like the idea of “working as though you won the lottery” and if people were permitted to do so, I think the workplace would be a lot different.

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