As often happens, I was introduced at a company event recently as an “expert.” I’ve never been fond of the term. Lean thinkers prefer to focus on gathering experience, learning from it, and applying it to the problem at hand. The notion of experts, often authorized through a certification process, too often devolves into an approach to improvement in which teams of experts swoop in to “do improvement to” the people who are trying to do the work, the frontline value-creating work of the business.
Though expertise gained through experience and events is a part of lean approaches to improvement and learning, lean practice is neither an expert nor an event model. Lean isn’t lean if it doesn’t involve everyone, every day, all day.
So I find it useful to ask myself, has everyone in my group practiced lean today? Have I?