Posted by: Knightbird | January 9, 2012


To the readers of my blog, you faithful few, thank you and a Happy New Year to you and yours. I have been a fervent disciple of Lean Thinking and Lean Management since March 2004. I have shared the message with many, and it has been accepted by very few. I have voiced my frustration in the past in the pages of this blog. I have kept many more frustrations to myself. But I keep plugging away because what I am advocating for is the customer of the organizations I am involved with. They deserve the service and quality levels that Lean can provide. And the employees of these organizations deserve the support that Lean gives them.

I want to apologize to those I have offended because I know my advocacy shows the frustration I develop through the rejection I regularly face as a Lean advocate. If you are truly committed to developing a culture of Lean in your organization, there will come a time that you truly learn to see. John Shook and Jim Womack’s book titled “Learning to See” is aptly named, and I have come to learn what its true meaning is. What I see when I walk into an organization, observe their processes and talk to their employees is oftentimes-utter chaos. There are good people working in a harsh environment, fighting fires and trying to keep things together. It doesn’t have to be that way, and that is what frustrates me. I have spent lots of time with our top leaders with what seem to be minimal results.

My New Years wish for all of the customers of Alaska Native organizations that serve them is that their leadership will have the curiosity and the intellect to give Lean a chance—a real chance. My wish is that we stop spending money on consultants and crutch positions. Instead, dedicate the funding to true healing. It’s out there, but we have to have the will to find it.

And to you and your families, I wish you great health, lots of happiness, good times and the means to enjoy it all. Happy New Year.


  1. Dear Patrick,
    Please do not be disappointed, you are not alone in this wish. As you have shared to a lot of us…this too can be a treasure! Had your Lean Approach been accepted by everyone, soon entropy will creep in and it is again another chance for Lean and Kaizen Improvement.
    For now, we strive to succeed in small achievements not losing sight of the overall goal.
    May this year bring more Lean opportunities to your path and may you succeed in most of those challenges. These would mean reading more from your blogs and I have just finished reading from your first entry to this one dated January 9, 2012.
    Thank you for sharing with us…It has really helped us see a lot of opportunities as well.

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