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Born Lean Thinkers

by Lean Leaper
June 30, 2015

Born Lean Thinkers

by Lean Leaper
June 30, 2015 | Comments (8)

Kids are born asking why, wanting to get to the root cause of things and understand how things are connected. The challenge is maintaining this kind of thinking as an adult. What do you find most challenging about lean problem solving or inquiry-based coaching in your improvement efforts? 

Let us know in the comments!

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
Keywords:  culture,  musings
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8 Comments | Post a Comment
Meng Teck Soh June 30, 2015
6 People AGREE with this comment

The most challenging part of the problem solving is our own perception of an issue. It stops us from creating new way of looking at a problem and also already has a corrective action in our mind without actually looking at all aspects what causes the issue in the first place.

Always approach a problem with a clarity in our mind and readily accepts all situations in which an issue can occur. 

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Brenda Kenefick June 30, 2015
8 People AGREE with this comment

Starting with a solution long before we have defined the problem. Holding to the rigour of understanding the problem first



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Ken Hunt June 30, 2015
6 People AGREE with this comment

The biggest challenge to me is getting people out of the mindset that the goal is eliminating waste. The focus should be to set a target condition, concentrate on acheiving that condition, and THEN when we have reached that target, look back and saying"Look at all of the waste we eliminated". Then set a new target condition. Lather, rinse, repeat.


It's how Toyota does it........

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Tammy McConaughy June 30, 2015
9 People AGREE with this comment

Being the mother of (4) I agree that kids are great at asking why! As a parent I had to step back and realize that my children are not challenging the decision I made; they are seeking to understand the "why" I made that decision. The root cause. 

As adults often times we are disconnected from the "why" which leads to instant reactions. When we react without understanding the "why"  we often are addressing and solving the effects of the problem and not the problem itself. THat is when we end up in the firefighting mode; just dousing fires instead of understanding how they are starting and how to prevent them. 

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Rick Bohan July 08, 2015

I've found that one of the toughest challenges re: lean problem solving is the lack of curiousity among many managers.  Too often, managers I work with are quick to admit that the processes they "manage" aren't working but, when faced with the opportunity to look more deeply into those deficiencies, just don't seem very interested.  Too often, even the most rudimentary info gathering is resisted.

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Ann Lis July 09, 2015

I still find it challenging to get people to go beyond fixing symptoms to seeking and addressing root causes.  It's too easy to say more training is the answer to everything. 

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Tom Olsen July 09, 2015

Lots of great stuff here...


In my experience, the lack of objectivity gets in the way all too often. One of the hardest things to teach is removal of thougts, feelings, emotions (ego) from the process and treat facts as just information used to drive decisions. A proposed countermeasure can quickly become "my/your idea", perceptions become misguided and true issues become masked.


Objectivity, coupled with a curious mind is a very powerful combination.

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Corinne Haack July 10, 2015

Asking why is great. Sometimes though people don't like the final conclusion and then they come up with lots of reasons why they cannot change it now. In other words they become stuck on asking why. So it becomes a balance of asking why enough times to get to the root cause but not allowing why to be asked so much that you no longer can find the most appropriate solution.

Sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong and move on.

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