At the beginning of the New Year many people are making New Year’s resolutions or setting new Targets. As one of the guilty parties in a past life it was not uncommon for me to make a resolution myself. One day while reflecting over the amount of resolutions that have been made over the traditions history I thought to myself, “Why is it that we make resolutions, but so often fail to keep them?” I thought about this for quite some time before the answer came to me.
I was sitting at my desk reviewing an A3 document and for the first time had realized that this A3 thinking the world had been speaking of, was no longer thinking at all for me. Now I don’t mean to say that thinking is not sometimes required when reviewing A3’s but rather that I had looked at so many of them that the process had become very simple for me.
If you’re not familiar with what an A3 report is, I have attached one for you to view and please feel free to print it out and use it as a template if you would like, this one will be based on a PDCA A3.
As you can tell this A3 follows the PDCA method of Problem solving, but if you look a little deeper you can see that it reveals a story about the project or problem. Much like New Year’s resolutions at one time for me, I realized that to keep them we must change the way we think. The A3 thought process has become so powerful because it works like a standard operating procedure through consistent repetition our minds begin to memorize the Stories told and more importantly the methods used.
Let me give you one last example, Sometimes my children will come to me with a problem, after I hear the problem I sometimes will ask them, “What should we do first?” Since the DMAIC method of Six Sigma is more familiar to them they will sometimes say “Tell you the problem” or in other words define what is happening. As the adult I will often Measure how serious the matter is or if anything can be done but every now and again my two beautiful girls pull out their black belts and measure too. Then as a family we “Analyze” what can be done. Once we have come to a logical decision and everyone agrees with the solutions, we begin the Improve phase. Of course the Sustain is on mom and me to change behaviors but often times there is not much to Sustain.
This may sound a bit crazy to you, Kaizen at home? But what is being done is actually creating a method for the mind to solve problems. It can be done anywhere, on a soccer field in an office or on the shop floor. The more and more we repeat the more and more our mind begins to engrain what we are repeating and thus we advance our A3 thinking.
Although there are many reasons for the failure of resolution’s it may help us to keep them if we made the thought or activity we resolve to change part of our normal thought process. Then just like an A3 Story we may have a better chance at losing that 20 lbs. we have been talking about.