Reflect to Improve, and Make it a Habit
How do you get started on the lean journey? Many organizations struggle with how to get started. They see this monumental journey ahead of them and there is so much to do, but where to start? I think a small and simple way to get started is just to begin a small and regular practice of reflection-based improvement. Some call this hansei, but as regular students of mine know, I try to keep a jargon-free zone. Reflection is just looking as any cycle of work that you’ve completed and learning something from it that you can improve. It’s not structured and robust, but it’s simple and effective.
Here’s an example from the operations of a multi-shift operation. Each shift ends with a reflection of what a good shift looks like. This is a great example of focused reflection. Most reflection in organizations is done generically and without focus. It is scheduled. It is regular. It has a standard to measure itself against. That standard is a written list of things that you would see in a good or perfect shift. And it is brief, which ensures that it can actually be accomplished. They spend no more than 15 minutes on this. At the end of each shift, they simply huddle, compare what happened against that ideal “what should happen” in a shift, and ask if anything can be learned or improved. The focus is on improving the small things.
The value of this is its regularity. If you do it often enough, then reflection becomes a habit. And that’s a great foundation on which to build more robust practices.
Does your organization reflect? Or do you personally? How have you built reflection into your habits?