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Don't Debate Something That Can Be Measured

In Lean, there are certainly some things that are open for debate. How aggressively to set goals, for example. When the criteria used to select a course of action are different for both sides, there is likely to be a disagreement. (See my recent video on using a decision matrix for more info on that topic.)

But in many cases, two factions argue something that is clearly measurable, and in many cases the argument isn’t even about the future. It is a discussion about the current state.

How many times have you been in a meeting room, and heard a debate start about what happens at a particular point in a process? Or how many times have you heard an internal customer and supplier going at it over how frequently shipments are late?

In cases such as these, one side seldom sways the other.

The best option is to go out and observe. Collect the data. Far too often, we get into the ‘Act Now’ mode, and want to charge forward without the proper information. I am a big advocate of the ‘Just Do It’ mindset, but when there is a disagreement, the action I recommend is to gather the right information to make a good decision.

The next time you hear a debate starting, simply ask the question of whether the issue is measurable. If it is go and get the facts.


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