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Lean Training System > Lean Strategies


You Don't Know Why You Have to Do a Particular Lean Job

Learning about Lean often takes a leap of faith. But faith only goes so far. On occasion, you will struggle with various aspects of your Lean job, especially when you don’t see the point in what you are beings asked to do.


You don’t know why you have to do a particular task.

How this affects you

It is easier to do something when you know why you have to do it. When you don’t understand the reason or don’t see how it helps the company, you may find yourself angry that you are wasting your time.

Action to take

In the 1984 movie The Karate Kid, a young man learns martial arts from a wise, but eccentric mentor. The instructor has the teenager painting fences and waxing cars, all with very precise movements. The boy finally gets fed up with his teacher and demands to know why he has to perform these mundane tasks. In response, the mentor throws several punches and kicks at the boy, who blocks them all by using the same motions he’d learned during those chores.

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Why this works

The Why this Works section is only available in print copies of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?.


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Share Your Thoughts    |2 comments|

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  • kim says:

    Is that any method / solution to handle the staffs (engineer position) that do not listen to the superior, bossy , ego and worst attitude , simple task (typing) given but resulted all wrong information / typo error. Do not communicating with any collegues since 1 years +++

    • Jeff Hajek says:

      Hi Kim,

      I think the first thing to do is figure out the source of the problem. Why is he or she acting that way? If everyone else is working together well, it is less likely to be a management issue. If other people can get the job done without these issues, it is likely that there is a reasonable process in place.

      I’d start by making sure the standards are clear, and that the person knows the expectations. If they still don’t meet the standard, give them a chance to correct the issues. If not, I would start your disciplinary process. In most cases, even if the person is a star performer, they cause more harm than good when they act as you described.

      Bottom line, if you check everything else and the problem is really with the person, you may need to replace him. Always hard to do and a last resort, but in these cases most leaders end up wishing they would have acted sooner.

      Good luck. You are in a tough situation.

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