Following on from my previous post on discipline, where I observed that the adherence to standardised work is the manifestation of discipline, I have researched what some thought leaders have to say on the subject of standardised work.
John Shook, now CEO of Lean Enterprise Institute, wrote a series of articles in October 2009 titled "Five Missing Pieces in your Standardized Work" for the LEI. Check out the articles here: 1 2 3
He makes some insightful points including...
The Oxford Dictionary defines discipline as
- [noun] The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience
- [verb, as in discipline oneself to do something] train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way
For the purpose of operational excellence the second definition rings true to my ear. To espouse discipline is to be habitual in what you do and hence it can take many forms whether that is brushing your teeth each evening or replying to query emails no later than 24 hours after receipt. In effect, when discipline is applied to everyday life, we are talking about following a standard method though nothing may have been explicitly written down.
Now why would we not write these (good?!) habits down and make a standard work method? I can think of the following reasons:
Since my university days I've been enamored with the ideal of operational excellence, what it is, how to attain it and how it evolves over time. After years of trial and error I believe I have painstakingly edged myself towards this ideal though not as quick or as clearly as I would have otherwise liked.
Looking back over my previous posts on the subject of operational excellence I have picked up that these posts focused on point improvements without much binding them together. I've since decided to change tact and to first focus on the foundations of operational excellence. I hope that I will therefore draw an operational excellence road map that I can use for practical use at work, independent to product model or even industry.