Learning Never Stops
The other day I was having a conversation with a lean counterpart. Essentially, my counterpart mentioned they know all there is about a lot of the lean concepts and tools. This struck me as odd. I have been fortunate enough to have been studying lean for close to 15 years now. Even after implementing over a dozen pull systems using kanban, I have never felt like I knew everything there was to know about pull and kanban.
I asked my counterpart what lean meant to him. He replied it was about how a person thought and problem solved and to never stop learning. I tend to agree with this. I followed up by asking what never stop learning meant to him. My counterpart said it was to continue to learn new processes, tools, and ideas. This is where I only partially agreed with him.
Continuous learning is more than what he mentioned. It also means you never know everything about a topic, concept, or tool. In my example of pull systems and kanban I have to continue to learn. Would this work in this environment? What is the business strategy for product? Build-to-order? Off the shelf? Customized? Only one way to get it? How does the current business and world environment affect a pull system for this company or industry? Does a pull or kanban system even make sense for this business model? Or is it like and ER or seasonal crop growers?
I could go on and on with more questions. My point is, I may have done well (or not well in some cases) with a pull system utilizing kanban, but that is just a knowledge library to use to help me have better context of the current situation.
I never see myself as not learning even on something I have studied and implemented many times. Like anything else, if we aren’t learning and improving then we are regressing.
How do you answer the question of what continuous learning means to you?