Letters to Me
As I have written about previously, I really enjoy music in general and guitars specifically. The other day I was riding to work listening to one of my favorite players, Brad Paisley, when his song ‘Letter to Me’ popped on. For those without the time or interest in listening to the song, it’s about an adult thinking about what he would tell himself as a teenager. In my never ending search for new themes, I thought I’d rip off the concept for a few posts and think about some of the things I wish I could go back in time and tell myself as I learned about Lean.
The first letter I would send would be back to college me. (Don’t worry…this is work/business related.) I took a class as part of my major called ‘Total Quality Management’ taught by Dr. Kenneth Ragsdell. Honestly, I can’t say enough about the professor and the class. Looking back, I feel like that course was the foundation that I have built most of my career path around. It was my first in depth discussion of the quality tools, especially in looking at SPC as something more than a statistics class exercise, and Deming’s playbook. I still have and refer to a summary page of notes from the class that I used as part of my preparation for the final.
Like so many formative experiences, I look back at the class and especially the professor and wonder if I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have at the time. I would love to be able to tell myself to pay better attention to the subtlety of some of the discussions. To study the material a little bit harder. To ask more and better questions. I don’t think that regret is necessarily the right word, but it is definitely one of those experiences that I wonder if I couldn’t have squeezed some more out of.
Maybe the lesson is different anyway. Maybe I shouldn’t spend time thinking about things that I can’t re-do. Then again, maybe there is hope in thinking about the lessons from the past and comparing it to the unexplored present and future.