During the course of developing online training programs for some of our customers, we came to know about the principles of Lean manufacturing or Lean production, a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination.
As a manager, I see that the origin of all wastage is human beings. Our productivity as individuals is directly tied to our emotional state and how we spend our time. In this context I found Steven Covey’s seven habits to be a good diagnostic as well as prescriptive tool to address human wastage and to promote effectiveness, which is the very essence of Lean.
Let’s take Time. How do we view it, in the first place? To paraphrase, Anthony Robbins, the popular motivational guru, time is emotion! How we view time is all about what emotional state we are in. If we are in a positive state, time flies or else it drags. Covey gives a useful categorization of how we spend time in terms of urgency and importance.
If we can start by eliminating or at least minimizing activities in quadrant III and IV and increase the ones in quadrant II, we will reduce the “Important-Urgent” crises in life and become more effective people, contributing value to ourselves and our organizations.
We found that if we spend more time and effort with employees to make them more productive, the systems and procedures will yield many times over.
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