Friday, January 20, 2012

We Don't Know

After a great kaizen event this week, kicking off an eight week project looking at reducing real waste (actually reducing landfill waste generated by the organization), we asked the team members for lessons learned. Our Team Leader, David York, leading his first kaizen experience, shared with our team one of the most insightful reflections I have heard in many years.

“We don’t know what the problems are…..that’s why we make them visible.
We don’t know what the root causes of the problems are….that’s why we ask 5 Whys?
We don’t know what the evidence is….that’s why we collect data.
We don’t know what is actually happening….that’s why we observe.
We don’t know what solutions will succeed….that’s why we experiment.”

Ultimately, it is alright for us “not to know” but in our arrogance and pride, we pretend to “know it all”. Maybe we are afraid of looking of looking stupid? Maybe we wish to look smarter than those around us? Perhaps we believe that our leaders expect us to know it all otherwise we are not worthy?

In reality, acting like we know it all prevents us from improving, learning and growing.

Thank you, David for teaching me this week!