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Who's Lean in TV & Film: Week 4 Voting

by Joshua Rapoza
November 15, 2013

Who's Lean in TV & Film: Week 4 Voting

by Joshua Rapoza
November 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Here we are in week four of the Who's Lean in TV/Film tournament. This week we have some great characters with some pretty compelling reasons for being nominated.

In case you're new to this tournament, here's a brief background. A couple of months ago we asked the lean community to tell us which characters from TV and film demonstrated lean thinking, and why they thought so. Then we took the list of 100+ character nominations and narrowed it down to the tournament grid below. Each week we put the characters head to head and the winner is chosen by the community. The goal is to get people looking for Lean all the time, finding ways to communicate what it is with others, and to have a little fun.

leanscreen

Voting for this round has ended.  Click here to follow the progress of this contest

Match-up #1

Tyler Durden

Fight Club (Film)

vs.

Mickey

Trouble with the Curve (Film)

In the film Fight Club, Tyler Durden challenges the norm.  The key message of the movie, is to evaluate why you are doing things (ask the 5 why's) and stop doing things if you don't have a good reason to do them.

A lot of what he rebels against is aspects of himself and others and a life that feels wasteful.  He is resourceful and innovative, for example getting rid of an apartment full of stuff he does't need and a job that is wasting his time.  Tyler also uses mistake-proofing in his quest, and he builds in safeguards against obvious threats.

He doesn't make assumptions about what is right or wrong, but instead questions the very nature of morality.  Is this Lean?  Maybe, maybe not, but questioning the core nature of things certainly is.  Tyler is also a people person.  He inspired those who followed him to better themselves, he makes the best use of their skills, and ultimately he changes the culture around him.  He turns apathy into action.  And in the end, he is successful in his quest.  The ultimate measure for any lean intervention is whether it is successful or not.  Are you achieving what you set out to do?

In the film Trouble with the Curve, Mickey (played by Amy Adams) while not being a baseball player or scout herself, has an incredible ability to spot talent.  In a lot of ways this is what a good manager does.  Granted, the best managers should be able to help in any of the roles that report to them.

Most importantly Mickey goes to the gemba.  You cannot rely just on what you are told or statistics; you have to go see it for yourself, grasp the real situation.  Mickey does this throughout the entire film.  It's critical for her to see and more specifically "hear" the player with the good stats. It's better to see the problem, instead of simply judging the numbers.  Problem solving from afar very rarely works, and is much less sustainable.  Mickey knows this and lives it.

Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
Tyler Durden
Fight Club (Film)
 
47%
Mickey
Trouble with the Curve (Film)
 
53%
Mickey (Trouble with the Curve)

Match-up #2

Cathy Jamison

The Big C (TV)

vs.

Neo

The Matrix (Film)

In the TV series The Big C, the main character Catherine finds out she's dying.  Her own mortality is her motivation to get rid of the waste in her life and improve the flow.  Her goal is to be happy with the final days/months/years of her life.  Destiny is offering the big pull, clearing her life of obstacles.  Talk about a big 5S opportunity!

She starts by eliminating her husband from her life as he was not adding value, nor contributing to the goal of her happiness.  She displays an ability to do more with less by digging her own pool when delays with the vendor were keeping her from her goal of having a pool.

She also takes time to ask questions of those around her, finding people in similar situations.  She learns from them and shares her thoughts freely.  The most moving moment so far is when Catherine addresses a med school class of aspiring oncologists.  The "voice of the customer" has never been displayed so beautifully.

The character Neo from the film The Matrix took the ultimate gemba walk.  His entire journey was "go and see."

First, he unplugs himself, taking himself out of his comfort zone (his entire life).  Think about that for a second...in a lot of ways that's what lean transformation is about.  Taking yourself out of the comfortable routine, the way you always do things, and trying things differently.  Changing the way you think, work, and interact.

Neo conducts root cause analysis in order to work out what truly exists as opposed to what the machines portray as reality.  How many questions does he ask in the entire movie?  More than you can count.  He was also a change agent, using the matrix to overcome barriers to achieve his goal.

Cathy Jamison (The Big C)
Cathy Jamison
The Big C (TV)
 
36%
Neo
The Matrix (Film)
 
64%
Neo (The Matrix)

Match-up #3

Willy Wonka

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Film)

vs.

Bilbo Baggins

The Hobbit (Film)

Kids may think candy is made through magic, but in a lot of ways, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was an entire generation's first exposure to manufacturing.  For the purpose of this tournament, let's look at Willy Wonka from both the 1971 and 2005 films.

In the beginning of both films we see the factory creating chocolates.  One piece flow is evident, there's no extra inventory, and all candy is transferred directly into "milk run" size vehicles all destined for specific locations with just the right amount in each truck.  This is Lean in action.

A lot of what Wonka chooses to do in his factory also serves multiple goals.  One is quality and another is to thwart industrial espionage.  Instead of enacting levels upon levels of security, he makes things in a manner that no competitor can steal.  Sort of like the way Toyota makes cars and invites their competitors to tour their plants.

Wonka also created a culture of problem solving, with a passion for quality.  The Oompa-Loompas may have been having fun, but they were all business, too.

In the film The Hobbit, a humble hobbit (Bilbo Baggins) from the Shire joins a band of homeless dwarves on an unexpected journey.  Sounds like a gemba walk to me!

Baggins respects the individual and achieves exceptional results through people.  Gandalf believes the journey of discovery, often full of adversity, is what uncovers Baggins' true strength.

Baggins recognizes the dragon who stole the wealth of generations and destroyed the productivity of the land.  This is an excellent representation of how waste can erode and disconnect organizations from society (collection of customers) and destroy the customer value-add.

And Baggins actually isn't the hero who destroys Smaug.  He defines the problem, observes the dragons' weakness, and shares the lessons learned for Bard.  He's a truly humble team member who seeks to solve the problem, yes, but understands that the necessary solution may be out of his hands.  He always engages others to work with him.

Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Willy Wonka
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Film)
 
80%
Bilbo Baggins
The Hobbit (Film)
 
20%
Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit)

Match-up #4

Honeychild Rider

Dr. No (Film)

vs.

Dexter Morgan

Dexter (TV)

In the James Bond film Dr. No, Ursula Andress plays Honey Rider; an independent beachcomber who makes her living selling sea shells.  She only needs one tool (her knife) to solve her problems, mostly having to do with defense and hunting.  She has an amazing ability to both plan and improvise. Just think about how she rescued Bond and got revenge on her landlord.

Finally, Honey Rider always does more with less.  She's extremely efficient.  She lives off the land, spends little to no time on personal grooming, and has a standard, consistent way of doing things so as to save time and energy.

A serial killer as an example of lean thinking?  It's not as crazy as you might think.  While his own goals may be a bit skewed, Dexter Morgan of the TV series Dexter makes a killing in the 5S and Standard Work departments.  Not to mention his ability to plan and improvise.

A true artist in the way of 5S (and I don't mean Stab, Strangle, Slice, Surveillance, and Syringe.)  Dexter has all his "equipment" and additional material organized and in specific labeled containers, bags, etc.  He has his tools when he needs them, no time is wasted looking for the right tool.

His "kill room" is a magnificent example of standard work, it's the same each time.  This greatly reduces the possibility for errors.  And for Dexter one mistake will place him in the electric chair.

When things don't go according to plan, Dexter has the ability to improvise, often with the materials he finds right around him.

The skill that I've found most intriguing about Dexter is his ability to observe.  He watches his victims, noticing their behavior, so he can anticipate their reactions to him.  He also collects evidence of their wrongdoing himself instead of relying on what others have said.

Honeychild Rider (Dr. No)
Honeychild Rider
Dr. No (Film)
 
13%
Dexter Morgan
Dexter (TV)
 
87%
Dexter Morgan (Dexter)

Next week we start round two where winners from the first round square off.

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the full tournament brackets. Download as a PDF

Download bracktes as PDF file

Tell your friends and colleagues. Tweet#leanscreen

(The copyright for the images used as part of the series are held by the image right holders. LEI makes no copyright claim on these images.)

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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David Bowman November 22, 2013
The picture of Willy Wonka looks like it is from the wrong movie.  Should be Johnny Depp from the 2005 version.  The beginning of that movie is Lean in action. 

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