During one of my final company visits last year, I was asked by a young engineer in South America, “Why do you recommend lean?” His question had a slightly challenging tone and he appeared poised to dispute my answer, whatever it may have been.
I answered without thinking, “Because it can make people’s lives better.” His challenging demeanor vanished; his eyes sparkled with curiosity and even — forgive if this sounds like hyperbole — hope.
It is indeed my hope that lean will make all of our lives better, something that, we desperately need wherever we are in the world after a tumultuous 2008. Here’s to a prosperous and happy — a better — 2009.
My lean year’s resolution: “Muda wa muda o yobu.”
You know what muda means. “Yobu” is a verb meaning “to call” so “muda wa muda o yobu means something like “you have to call muda, muda”. Or, when you see muda, you must call it out — the first step toward making things better.
See you next week.
Lean Enterprise Institute