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Repetition is the act of doing something the same way over and over again. Repetition helps provide stable outputs to a process by making the inputs consistent.

Repetition has a side effect of creating muscle memory—the state where your body acts without conscious thought, much like walking. You don’t have to think about moving your legs. Repetition makes the motion natural. This muscle memory, in Lean settings, helps people follow processes consistently.

Repetition helps with mental exercises, too. Using Lean tools, like Pareto charts and flow charts repeatedly will improve a person’s abilities. But repetition only takes a person so far. If dramatic improvement is desired, intentional practice is required. Practice targets specific shortcomings in a way that pure repetition does not.

On the downside, too much repetition can create boredom and reduce job satisfaction. And bored employees with low morale make more mistakes and hurt quality more than engaged ones do.

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