Lean@home is about how to organize your home in order to better meet needs. By using the same methods to review streams that other organizations use, you can increase stream efficiency and free up energy in the home.
But lean@home is not a method offering a single solution for everyone.
It’s a nearly 100 year-old concept in which you find lasting solutions to the problems of your unique lives yourselves; it’s a way to acquire the tools necessary to start making changes. Because what does an economically privileged family in a house have in common with a recently arrived immigrant family in a housing project? What does a forty-something couple with four teenagers in Nice have in common with a gay couple in New York City?
A lot more than what may appear to be the case on the surface; to be sure, we have a tendency to focus on differences rather than on what unifies us. We may not have the same dreams—but we all have dreams. We have varying privileges in terms of resources—but we have all probably experienced an actual lack of time, money and energy. We may all have different views of climate change and pollution, but we and future generations are equally dependent on our environment. We have needs—fundamental and developmental needs; we have problems, we have things we want to change.
Lean@home can help most people make the changes they need, create flow in their daily lives, and have more harmonious homes.
What Lean@home is not
To avoid misinterpretations, it is important to describe what lean@home is not. It is not a fast, efficient method to create a home resembling a production process, where family members are internal customers. It is not a path to a dreary, practical, stripped-down, unimaginative, goal-oriented home where you do not live in the present moment. It is not a way to see your house or apartment only as something to be refined, endlessly tinkered with, repainted, renovated and improved. Nor is lean@home about immediately satisfying every need, or perceived need, that you, your partner, or your children may have. The home is everyone’s responsibility; even two year-olds can participate on their terms. Determine what your actual needs are and prioritize them. Focus on the ones that are significant.
Lean@home is not like the emperor’s new clothes. Some business leaders reject lean at first, on the grounds that everything the philosophy involves should naturally be practiced already. But once they actually start working with it, patiently and intentionally, they see the potential and the point. Nor is lean@home a pure streamlining philosophy to optimize your productivity or performance. Some workplaces are invaded by quacks who, whether consciously or unconsciously, grossly misunderstand and manipulate lean. They take streamlining to the extreme, they don’t involve the true experts, and then they move on and destroy the next workplace.
If you just use the tools, you will lose the soul of lean. If you just use the philosophy and skip the tools, you won’t achieve results. But remember: you don’t have to do it all at once. You don’t even have to do it all in one lifetime. See lean@home as a smorgasbord, and focus on your most important streams first.