Problem identification and problem solving require very focused and specific thinking. The strongest Lean leaders start with extensive observation and then engage in deep thought in their effort to engage with the current state, examine the issues, postulate ways in which they might address those issues, and then, of course, experiment until they find something that might actually work. OK, I guess I could have used short-hand for this, simply writing PDCA or PDSA instead, right?
And this is true for leaders in the executive suite as well as, or even more so, than for those who are supervising shop floor or supply-chain activity.
Guess what. Interruptions, from even well-meaning colleagues, so-called important phone calls and seemingly urgent emails, will take us away from the deep thinking flow necessary to succeed in Lean leadership. This is one of the reasons why so many in the Lean community are incorporating mindfulness principles and practices into their daily work. More about that in another article.
But I did run into this insightful quote while doing research in the course of a new CEO search, and it struck me as relevant and helpful. So I’m sharing it here.
“To save time, take time in large pieces. Do not cut time up into bits…The mind is like a locomotive. It requires time for getting under headway. Under headway it makes its own steam. Progress gives force as force makes progress. Do not slow down as long as you run well and without undue waste. Take advantage of momentum. Prolonged thinking leads to profound thinking.” Charles Franklin Thwing
So, don’t short-change yourself by losing the energy and momentum of deep engagement and deep thinking. We’ve each got the same 24 hours a day to work with. Successful Lean leaders deploy those hours more effectively.