Posted by: knightbird | April 30, 2012

The Bigger Picture

I listened to a radio show today that was talking about the bigger picture and how we (a collective we, not just you and me) fail to see the world as it really is. In this show, the topic of discussion was gated communities and how the perception of safety changes your outlook on the people you encounter. It was fascinating to listen to an urban development specialist talk about how our presentation to our neighbors has changed. For example, instead of porches that face the street, we focus our lives on the back years. And our street lights favor cars. They have the light up very high instead of down lower where they impact pedestrians. The theses of his comments are that we no longer interact with people in the way we used to because of the way we design our housing. If we saw a bigger picture, we might seriously look at how we are structuring our relationships and change the way we live. (Link to Gated Communities.)

I did some research on what the bigger picture means and here are three that scream out Lean management.

“Looking at things not from a selfish point of view, how it affects “me”, but stepping back from one’s selfishness and being aware of what is happening for simply what it is; i.e. observing sort of from an unbiased 3rd person point of view.”

“It means to realize that our work and efforts are so small in the scheme of things that failure isn’t a big deal, yet important enough that its success contributes to a greater whole.”

“Big picture means a broader view with a longer time perspective which ensures that the important central issues are not clouded or distracted by peripheral scattered details. In other words, not to let the icing overshadow the cake itself!!”

For me, Lean means you cannot be selfish. You must work as a member of a team and subordinate your personal wishes for the greater good. If a process improvement causes you more work but reduces total overall work and improves quality and value, you accept it. And you can’t be afraid of failure, but must embrace it. If you don’t you can’t fix what is wrong because you never accept what is wrong. And finally, you must work over a long time horizon. Most problems aren’t created in a day, and cannot be fixed in a day (almost but not quite for most problems).

The Bigger Picture also seems to mean that you are “learning to see.” Wasn’t there a significant Lean publication with that title? ;-D

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