Lean And Your Life

Lean And Your Life

Warning: This post is made by a videographer, not a Lean specialist.

In my year working with a team that are highly proficient using Lean methodology, I have found that the concept of lean is highly misunderstood, or rather confined in a box.  When speaking with my friend about Lean the other day, he said that “You speak about Lean as if it’s a religion.”  In part he’s not wrong, although I think religion is a bit much.  Lean has changed my thinking fundamentally, as what I’ve learned transcends best use business practices, but rather a way of looking at one’s life.

Backtrack almost one year ago when I had just started my first job as part of a video production team in Worcester Massachusetts. I was interning at Votary Media (now Votary Films), which I am now a full time team member. One of my first assignments was filming a week long event at FLEXcon in Spencer. I arrived not thinking much of it, expecting a corporate gig, I was just happy to have a job. What I did not know that this was the beginning of a much longer journey into Lean.

Who I ended up colliding with at this event in Spencer was not what I was expecting. It was an organization called Niwaki, many of whom had vast experience working at Toyota and other Lean institutions. These people came from all over the world, each with their own “Ninja” qualities. Toyota is the bedrock where many of these principles lie I found out.

When I entered that first day I had no idea what Lean was, and it sounded like a way to cut costs, or trim the workforce. I was expecting to be bored to tears. What I found was completely the opposite. It wasn’t a way to do business, it was a framework to live your life. It uses visualization, problem solving, creativity, and brings meaning to our lives. A key aspect is standardization, and by standardizing our work we are given more time to improve what we love to do.

Story telling and lean, what could be the relationship? Many Lean processes can be used in story telling and in our own story every day to make the most of our precious time. I could go on with the many tools that Lean uses to improve the way we can live our lives, but I think as a videographer it would be best to show you.

It is almost one year since I began my journey working with a team of Lean specialists, and I am constantly reminded of the power these methodologies hold. It is not my intention to teach you about lean, but to give you the desire to learn about it for yourself.  You just might be surprised on what you find.