A “lean” parable:

I go to airports a lot.

Some folks like to get to the airport early.  I don’t.

My goal is to get there as early as necessary.  No sooner.  I think it’s “lean” not to spend extra time in airports.

I’ve gotten my routine down.  It works well for me.  I have a good place to park.  I dress the right way not to trigger alarms.  I can break down my luggage efficiently to get through security effectively.

I was confident I had the best way.  Until I noticed something a few weeks ago.

You can take the escalator, or you can take the elevator to the departure floor.

I always took the escalator.  I reasoned that waiting for the elevator took time.  You don’t wait on the escalator.

But I began to notice that people who took the elevator would make it to the security gate before I did.

It happened a couple of times before I began to study it.  Before long, I verified that the elevator is faster than the escalator nine times out of ten.

So, I changed.  My smooth process became just a bit smoother.

Here’s the moral of the story:  I have ridden the escalator for 15 years, 30-40 times a year.  I was content with my process.  Confident it was the best.  And it wasn’t.

Here’s my question.  What routine do you have that you could improve upon?  Are you humble enough to question your process?

The humility to question a good process for the sake of making it better is the essence of “lean.”  Look around.  Who is using a different technique, method, or process?  Can you add a new ingredient to make a good process better?