Do You Have 2 Seconds to Become a Lean Thinker?

By Arnie Malham

“2 Second Lean” by Paul A. Akers was brought to my attention when I saw the speaking line-up for the 2015 Gazelles Leadership Summit in Orlando this year. Since is a cultural tool for most organizations, I was eager to learn more about the improvement techniques Akers has implemented into his organization.
Akers quickly establishes what he calls The Eight Sins of Waste:

  1. Overproduction
  2. Transportation
  3. Inventory
  4. Defects
  5. Over-processing
  6. Motion
  7. Waiting
  8. Wasted Human Potential

Once you become familiar with The Eight Sins of Waste, you will begin to see them everywhere you go! Then it becomes your natural instinct to improve the on these wasteful habits. For example, whether you’re stuck in traffic during your morning commute or you purchase a product that is faulty – anything can add up to wasted time, energy, and money! Once you start doing the 2 Second Lean improvements, you will become a Lean Thinker!

Speaking from first-hand experience, most people get overwhelmed imagining what the end of a project will look like. Akers says that small, consistent two second improvements will add up to significant progress over time. Reading his theory encouraged me to focus on the first steps and forget all of the steps in-between; a person just needs to work on the continuation of improvement.

According to Akers, the most important thing that he was told from an Executive at Toyota is that building a culture of continuous improvement was their main focus. It wasn’t engineering or anything that had to do with the actual making of a car. Therefore, through employees learning more and more, everything else just fell into place.

I also love all of the additional information that Akers provides on his website through the use of vlogs. Make sure you check those out as a supplement to the book. While the book will take you longer than 2 seconds to read, it’s worth all of the additional seconds, minutes, and hours you will recover from being a Lean thinker!

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