There is nothing more invigorating than a sponge.

Not the type of sponge you clean with, but a person that soaks up everything and is eager to learn.

I recently have been working with a facility on implementing lean thinking.  At this facility is an operations manager that is trying to take in everything she can.  It is amazing to watch her.  Everything that is said and talked about is taken in, absorbed and thought about how it applies for her staff and herself.

One walk on the floor to spot issues in 5S and questions about if it is important to her whether it is maintained or not turns into a maintained 5S effort over the last month.  She didn’t just go out and demand it be done.  She asked the employees in the area if it was still needed and if so, what needs to be done to meet their needs.  The employees wanted it and now are maintaining it.

The next time more in-depth questions on maintaining material levels led to thinking and study of a process to be sure the material levels are maintained.

In the short time I have been working with the group, I can list of more examples of taking the learning and turning into action than the past year of efforts in other areas.

Seeing others start to soak up the lean thinking like a sponge and grow is an invigorating feeling that gets the blood pumping.

Are you a lean sponge?


Posted on May 1, 2014, in Engagment, Learning, Principles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I also enjoy watching people develop and learn and take it all in. This is often what happens when engaged people learn new concepts. The true test comes when there is resistance to those ideas or when an improvement is NOT sustained. Disappointment and discouragement can happen at that point. So, one of the items that need to be covered with those who are learning about Lean is how to handle those situations. Afterall, change is not popular with many people, even if the change brings positive results. I had an associate tell me after a kaizen event, “It will work but I still hate it because I hate change. Even if the whole thing had been my idea, I would hate the change.” He was honest about his feelings and gave 100% to make the change work, but his attitude was still a challenge. “Sponges” need to absorb those situations as well in order to be prepared when they encounter them.

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