Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
I saw this quote the other day and it reminded me of our efforts on “lean” operations:
“The problem is not that there are problems. It is expecting otherwise and thinking having problems is a problem.” – Theodore Rubin
Problems are coming every day. I don’t know about you, but the longer I live, the more complex things become. Conditions change. Abilities change. Markets change. The pace of change increases. It doesn’t get easier.
Change presents problems. You can work like the dickens to get something “right” and then something comes along to disrupt the successful state you have achieved. Rubin says that shouldn’t surprise us. We should expect it.
It’s sort of like someone who confronts the surf for the first time at the beach. You wade out into the ocean, maintaining a normal stance, and a big wave comes along. Bam! You lose your balance and you find yourself snorting up salt water.
It changes your approach to entering the surf. The next time you see a wave coming, you stand your ground. You expect the force. In fact, you may well lean into it to make sure you keep your balance.
A “lean” operational mindset acknowledges that the next wave is coming. There is no status quo. We have to brace ourselves, pay attention and adjust to the flow.