Lean has been spreading across the world like wildfire since the late nineteenth century, when Sakichi Toyoda in Japan began establishing Toyota Industries and developing lean philosophy. Lean has marched triumphantly from Toyota and the car industry to hospitals, prosecution offices, and service companies. But it has not yet come home.
In the family and in the home, we wear on one another’s love, trust and self-esteem; we put a strain on the environment and on ourselves, and many people waste resources—both time and money. Lean curtails that wastefulness. Persistent work with lean can dramatically reduce waste and create a more sustainable, harmonious home—and ultimately, a more sustainable society. A lean management consultant with an excellent reputation recently said that most leaders seem to focus on increasing productivity by 35–40% in the three to five years following the implementation of lean. He added that what they should really focus on is using lean to increase productivity by 400% in ten years.
The same is true of family life. Our closest relationships help us evolve as people, but they can also cause us to come to a standstill, to get stuck in established roles, or to give up what we really want from life. Lean helps us do the best we can and live our dreams. All that’s required is love, intention and perseverance.
Do you have what it takes?