I am becoming more and more frustrated with the drive in American Business to grasp on to the the latest Cool things. This is most likely exacerbated by the fact I'm taking a very boring online course dedicated to the Japanese concept of Lean manufacturing. This is being presented as the answer to all business woes. Well why not a few observations.
Oh where to begin. We are taken into a fantasy land of a Major cooperation and follow around a new hired Product manager who is a intolerable suck up. He is given a troubled division and soon is being indoctrinated (brainwashed) into lean concepts. I really wish training creators would stop trying to be clever with these silly things. Oh yeah they come up with what they believe to be clever scenarios situations that will engage students. Then they get some of the most dull and flat voice actors in existence. Yep that works....
Next on my list. The training essentially formalizes a concept of organization, simplification, reduction. Wow there you go genius why hadn't anyone thought of this before. Well we have. The key to what is being presented is to wrap it up in a new box so people will think it is revolutionary and will make changes in the way they do things. But any system can always benefit from those concepts. The key is just to do them, so I get a bit aggravated at something that is being sold as revolutionary just to get people to do things they already know is the right way to do it.
Another fallacy is that all cultures are the same and concepts that are key in one culture will work in another. We have a lot of basis and patterns dictated by the culture we are a part of. Philosophy that might be somewhat predicated on the culture doesn't always work in another. Let's have a reality check. Japanese companies are based on a culture that has a different level of commitment to jobs and work that the American culture does. When a workforce is completely dedicated to there job above all else there is a great potential for success regardless of anything else. American culture is no longer that job focused, we are more self absorbed. For us a job pays for what we do, for the Japanese culture the job is what they do. Given what I've read though the next generation in Japan is more self absorbed so we will see what happens.
So come lets' just say hey these have always been good ideas and lets figure out how to organize simplify and reduce with out acting like we have been on a mountain and received some new stone tablets.