Be Willing to Question the Status Quo

This “lean” effort we are making carries with it a need to implement change.

Thus, a tension we must manage internally is that change is not naturally embraced by most folks. Satisfied with a good result, we don’t want to resist a safe result to get a better result. Thus, rather than earnestly and continually seeking a better way to do things, we find ourselves defending what we do. I am guilty of it. So are you.

To be an effective change effort, you have to be willing to question the status quo.

In Mocksville, we decided long ago that we would buy forklifts, maintain them well with our quality maintenance team and use them a long time. Through the years, it has been effective. Rather than run them hard and replace them often, we kept them. It worked well for us because the money we saved by not investing in lifts we could invest in other things to improve our operations.

So, there you have it: a strategy that has been elegantly implemented and it produced fruit. Why consider change?

Well, a few things have changed. The cost of fuel has grown by 400% since we embraced that strategy. As fuel has gotten higher, a revolution in fuel-efficient equipment has taken place. The cost to run the old lift and maintain the old lift is now much greater than leasing and fueling a new one.

A good idea forged several decades ago is now a questionable one. A new, better strategy has evolved.

Here’s the deal. We were invested in the old strategy. For a long time, we weren’t willing to consider an alternative because we had so much pride in our strategy.

To be truly “lean,” we have to be willing to put proven ideas back on the table and retest them given our new environment. We will be surprised to see how many things that we were certain to be true are no longer true.