What do lean and seat belts have in common?

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The fundamental change that has occurred in the wearing of seat belts has been used as an analogy to describe the lasting change that is required for a successful lean transformation.

This analogy was shared in today’s apicsAU webinar Deploying, consolidating and Sustaining a Lean Transformation by guest presenter James Hildebrand.

Today, even pets travel safely within the restraints of custom-built seat belts in cars.

James says that the approaches society has taken to bring about the successful seat belt-wearing transformation should be used by organisations who want to implement lean and achieve world class efficiency.

Transformation is also achievable through the professional development of our people.

To help you create a baseline knowledge of lean within your organisation, we’ve drawn from the APICS Body of Knowledge to identify 10 things your organisation needs to know about lean inventory:

  1. The concepts of just in time and lean, and how they apply to the management of inventories
  2. Why implementing lean and lean structure is important
  3. The three major sources of operations waste
  4. The difference between value-added work and waste
  5. How to manage inventory effectively in a lean environment
  6. How to explore the lean inventory flow analogy
  7. The impact of inventory reduction
  8. Lean pull-system basics
  9. How to calculate the number and work with kanbans/containers
  10. How to review the calculation of production, move and supplier kanbans

These ten points are also the learning objectives of a popular corporate training session within the APICS Principles of Operation Management Series. APICS qualified facilitators are provided to facilitate discussion and learning of lean inventory theory and practice. Customisable training sessions are available, based on the skills gaps within your supply chain team. Check out our free Supply Chain Competency Model launched in our blog last month.

apicsAU’s Regional Symposiums Navigating Your Supply Chain Into The Future are now short executive breakfast sessions to allow for you to invite your organisation’s decision makers to participate in supply chain issues which will, in turn, accelerate approval for your team’s professional development.

Seat belts on and let’s go!

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The 7 Tests of True Mastery

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It appears we have never had so many experts roaming the planet than in our modern age. As I trawl through the LinkedIn profiles of my contacts, everyone it seems is a ‘specialist’, ‘sought-after authority’ or ‘expert’ at something – some even manage to specialize in pretty much everything!

Naturally, this is part of the necessary game of personal branding – one which I myself feel compelled to play to an ever-increasing extent (my own LinkedIn bio copy is evidence enough of this).

And yet I was recently reflecting on the notion of mastery. Not mastery in the more modern marketing form but in the traditional ‘master and apprentice’ sense. What are the tell-tale sign that someone has been around the block enough times and derived enough experience and skill to truly be a master at something.

Some would say that mastery is merely a function of time. For instance, Malcolm Gladwell is often credited for coining the 10,000 hour test which suggests that you have to do something for 10,000 hours before you are truly an expert. While this certainly has the ring of common sense about it, I can’t help but wonder if simply using time to determine mastery is a bit limited. After all, I know lots of people who are highly experienced but are neither experts or masters.

Reflecting on the many individuals in my sphere who, in my view, have truly achieved a level of mastery in their given field, there are 7 the characteristics that are common to them all:

1. They are rarely surprised – there is a positive sense that the truly experienced “have seen it all before” and therefore can remain calm, clear-headed and confident when the exceptional occurs

2. Their skills are not circumstantial – in other words masters are adept and comfortable in a wide variety of situations and contexts because their skill and expertise is second nature

3. They move beyond rhetoric and long-windedness – Paradoxically, I often find that it is people who use the most complex language who know least about a topic of body of knowledge. Those with superficial or merely academic understanding tend to find intellectual security in rhetoric and jargon. In contrast, those who truly understand a topic tend to use language that is refreshingly simple and concise. As Albert Einstein said, If you can’t explain it to an 6-year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

4. They have added to knowledge – rather than simply consuming or re-hashing existing knowledge and insight, true experts get to a point where they create and contribute new knowledge

5. They are constructively contrarian – Anyone can throw stones and attack another’s views but true experts can offer a contrary view without any need to be either aggressive or defensive. The goal becomes to improve the quality of thought rather than to score points

6. They are humble and open – True mastery engenders a wonderful humility, openness and a hunger to constantly grow and learn. In contrast, those with limited skill, knowledge or expertise often have the most rigid views and firm opinions. There appears to be something about the road to true mastery that wears away hard edges and dissolves arrogance.

7. They actively seek to apprentice others – Finally, I see time and time again that a key mark of mastery is the innate drive to invest in and mentor the next generation. There seems to come a point where the goal for those with mastery is not to simply build their own success but share what they have learned with those coming behind them – just as someone had likely done with them at some stage. This desire to leave a leave a legacy and pass on a heritage of skill and knowledge is perhaps one of the most powerful dynamics to witness – when an expert becomes an elder.

I don’t know if you find the above list as challenging as I do. As I draw closer to my mid-30s, I am increasingly aware of the tendency for age and experience to ossify my views, dim my optimism and even breed selfishness.

Bearing this in mind, I for one am committed to pursuing mastery in the true sense of that word. I don’t want to merely be experienced, I want to become an expert: secure in my convictions but ever-curious, open and looking to share and serve.

How about you?
michael mcqueen
Michael McQueen is our guest blogger.
Speaker | Author | President at Professional Speakers Australia – PSA | Leadership Coach | Social Researcher