Posted by: productivityinc | April 27, 2009

Sisyphus and Lean…

sisyphusYou know the story of Sisyphus? He is the unlucky fellow who found himself pushing a boulder up a hill for all eternity. He would no sooner get to the top of the hill when he would be damned to watch it roll back down… at which point he would once again be obliged to repeat the task.

Unfortunately, this experience is all too easily replicated when embarking upon Lean initiatives. The problem does not lie with the efficacy of Lean but rather the degree to which all parties support the effort. It take a village to raise a child and it takes a company to execute a Lean initiative. Without commitment from all parties, the experience of pushing a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, is all too familiar. The most we can expect from isolated efforts is isolated results. Pockets of excellence are better than nothing, but isolated improvements do not a transformation make. 

If Lean is to succeed to its fullest potential within your company, you have to understand that it requires all rowers pulling together in unison and facing the same direction. This requires coordination and an understanding of where you are going. 

Lean requires a focused effort over time and it requires the engagement of ALL players if it is expected to take you to the fore of any competitive market. It is the engine which can get you there but just as with any engine, it requires constant fuel and maintenance if it is expected to help you win a race and by God we are in the race of our lives!

So don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the effort in front of you. Just as in any endeavor, winning takes effort… but ultimately, a lot less than losing.


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