We've all been told that we can do whatever we put our mind to. Would you believe it if we told you it's true. There is nothing impossible in this world. Some things take more work than others. But, impossible is not part of the improvement language. Audrey Hepburn said it best when she shared: "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, I'm Possible." No matter what you're trying to do understand that it is possible.
In the comments below share a time when you felt something was impossible and how you overcame that feeling. Keep on improving everyone!
Many years ago one of the best books on Continuous Improvement (Lean) was written, The Toyota Way. Still today this book is studied and referenced in many different operational excellence ventures. In the book author Jeffrey Liker discusses 14 management principles that are important in a Lean Strategy. While these 14 principles are quite important one of the common themes you may think about and hear through the book is the idea that "doing something is always better than doing nothing." Amelia Earhart's quote above is a perfect reminder of this powerful behavior; "The most effective way to do it, is to do it."
It is quite common for all of us to dream of an imagine the absolute "perfect" situation when looking to improve, but, perfect is not always the correct way to imagine. Perfect is hard to achieve but better can always be achieved. If your moving in the right direction it doesn't matter how far you move just that you keep moving and as Amelia and Mr. Liker's book hints sometimes, moving in the right direction requires first that you get started.
Sometimes we can focus more on finding forms of waste and issues than we do on rewarding the hard work that people do. Part of making improvements is celebrating your victories and taking the time to say: Good job, Great work and Way to go. The quote below from Abraham Lincoln helps remind us that if we took sometime to celebrate even our small victories not only would it have a profound effect on our companies but it would also make for a much happier world of people.
In the comments section below share one way you could magnify somebody else's success.
At the start of any initiative, one can feel a buzz in the air. There is an energy where people are excited for the prospects ahead. With that excitement often comes expensive software, new materials, trainings, and endless meetings. Eventually, the momentum wanes and improvements fade into old habits. Shifting the culture of an organization and implementing a new initiative is a journey; one that takes patience. Simplify the process and focus on the small steps that lead you towards your goal. The changes will come with simple daily steps. Once you find what works, do it again. Improve upon it. One day, you will survey your organization and instead of shadows of innovation, you see a community transformed with employees who are invested in bettering their environment.
Nelson Mandela was one of the most influential political leaders in recent history. His journey was truly inspiring transforming from a prisoner to an iconic world leader who broke barriers of racism. Mr. Mandela recognized that in order for a society to be successful each person needed to feel empowered and know that they matter. Likewise, the success of any organization is forged on the backs of it's employees. Each member has the capacity to influence an organization in unprecedented ways. One does not need a title and a corner office to make a difference. The development of an organization happens with the individuals as well as the leaders.
Sure you can plan to start many things tomorrow, but what if you just started today? How about instead of thinking of the bigger picture you chipped off a small piece that guided you in the direction of the big picture today?
Share in the comments section below. How would acting today instead of waiting for tomorrow impact the world?
Leave a comment down below. How does this quote from the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh inspire continuous improvement for you?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’
– Audrey Hepburn -
Though the quote itself is not directly related to continuous improvement, Audrey Hepburn shares with us a very inspirational thought. In continuous improvement it is important that we remember nothing is impossible. There will be times when you feel as though the journey is impossible and although you may not be able to influence or change the thoughts of others it is important to remember that no matter where you are on your continuous improvement journey you can be an example of what is possible.
This ancient Chinese proverb is a good reminder that always giving and doing things for other people may be helpful in the moment, but developing self-reliant and independent Lean and Six Sigma practitioners can grow a future rich with innovation and creativity.
Discussion - What types of things do you do in your organization to "teach others how to fish for a lifetime?"
Much like a car, aligning our thoughts, activities and schedules can be a powerful way to start our days off. Whether you do this with a healthy breakfast, morning meditation, morning exercise, writing in a journal or a team huddle finding a way to start your day with alignment will help you hold tightly to your goals as life's daily challenges come forth.
What do you do regularly to bring alignment to your life?
Share your Story - Have there been times in your continuous improvement journey where you thought to yourself, "maybe it's better to just stop." What did you do to remind yourself that there is no failure on the path of improvement? What did you do to learn?
**Discussion - What other methods of teaching have you used to help influence those around you in a positive way?
Often times on our path through improvement or chasing greatness, one might feel frustrated, downtrodden or even just plain beaten. Mr. Jordan one of the greatest basketball players to ever live offers this sound advice; "I believe greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves era to era." Deep insight for us to reflect on.
"How about you? What are your thoughts on greatness? How is greatness achieved?"
Every "little" change we make guides us towards the greater changes we notice over time, remember no change, large or small, if it is focused on improvement will steer you in the wrong direction.
"A morning walk can brighten a day, cause some to smile and invigorate the mind, body and soul. A morning waste walk can do all of that and improve a little bit each day."
- Lean Strategies International LLC. -
"Standards should not be forced down from above but rather set by the production workers themselves." -Taiichi Ohno -
*Discussion Opportunities (comment below please):
Keeping our objectives insight helps us align our actions with our goals. In a recent forbes blog post author Molly Cain gives this advice on reaching your goals: "Break it up. Many people abandon goals because they’re just too dang big. If you’ve done this to yourself, stop now. Change your game plan."
Sometimes large goals can be more than our eyes can see, by breaking our goals up into milestones or even inchstones we can often find that the goal is much more manageable. So, What one thing can you do today that might get you a little closer to your goal?
"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion."
- Jack Welch -
"Start by doing what's necessary, Then do what's possible; And suddenly you are doing the IMPOSSIBLE."
-Francis of Assisi-