Work That is Worthy of Humans

Taiichi Ohno once said it was management’s job to make work a place where the talent is able to add ‘creative ideas and changes’ to the work, in order to do work that is worthy of humans. He went on to say:

“The competition to get each person to add their good ideas is not a race between workers for good suggestions, it is a race with the managers and their workers on one side and competitive forces in the world on the other side. It is a competition about how quickly you can get each person to use their minds creatively to improve their work. It’s a race to get people to think.

I recently asked a COO of a Fortune 100 company that touts its lean management program, what his opinion of “Respect For People” was. He began to discuss the importance of being respectful to workers. His premise was “respect is about being nice” (and I’ll make up the rest here according to what I think it meant), “while manipulatively getting the most work out of them with the least amount of pay and effort possible.” To be sure, he did not say that but I think I could have coaxed something like that out of him if we had continued.

I say manipulatively because the entire foundation of his answer was an “us vs. them” scenario, similar to what is portrayed in the Charlie Chaplin movie in less than five minutes.

In contrast, Mr. Ohno’s entire premise is that we’re in this together, and we’re all here to learn and be creative, so that we can win. Really wanna know what Toyota is doing differently? That’s pretty much it in a nutshell, right there. The rest is just minor details.

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About Jim

I am the founder of the Lean Expert Academy and a previous partner in the Lean Leadership Institute with Jeff Liker (The Toyota Way), Paul Akers (2 Second Lean) and Norm Bodek (Productivity Press Founder). We train Lean consultants to implement the exact same methodology and techniques that you can learn here. I will be releasing my first book, Lean 2.0: How to Dominate Your Industry Using Lea(R)n Thinking very soon.

I believe the days of suboptimal results of command & control management models will be replaced within this decade, and you are a driver in that transition. I believe that we are at the tipping point of a new era, an era where everything that has the name “management” attached to it, will be done with Lean thinking and Lean management.

I know for a fact, after years of being deep in the trenches of making change happen, that implementing Lean is not that hard to do. It’s actually quite easy if you follow the right steps, and my course shows you exactly how to achieve that outcome.

My goal and mission is to produce as many excellent Lean thinking leaders as possible – to arm you with the ability to recreate what I and my team of consultants have been doing consistently for many years. If you are serious about seeing Lean spread more quickly, please join me.

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