Of Oatmeal and Kaizen …

I was just fixing some instant oatmeal  … honest!

Then it hit me … if I cut off the cardboard flaps on the oatmeal box, they would no longer catch on the sides of the drawer. One quick search for a cutting tool and a few seconds of hard, manual labor … problem solved. In the middle of this little “fix it” moment, I flashed back on my first experience with the concept of continuous improvement.  

Flashback to my first professional position after graduate school:

I was responsible for the safe and effective operation of facilities, supervision of full-time and part-time staff, and charged with making resident student’s lives “better” by enhancing the educational experience of college.   I was also acutely tuned to anything which might help me do all that.  A little grounding in the work of W. Edwards Deming , along with a cursory knowledge of the PDCA Cycle and I was hooked.   Used the concept of continuous improvement in almost every professional experience since, in both paid and volunteer positions, and apparently, my personal life.

How else to explain cutting cardboard in the morning?

Fast forward to the present …

My days of being responsible for large operations, facilities, and staffs are mostly in the rear view mirror at this point, but every once in a while I am reminded of things I’ve learned along the way.  Today was one of those days. After that little kitchen moment, I took some time to reflect on how pervasive the idea of continuous improvement has become in my daily activities.

I rarely leave anything alone just to run.  Always tinkering, changing, developing, rearranging.  My websites and blogs are always in some degree of flux.  I am not one to leave well enough alone and never experience the bliss of perfection.  Things can always be better.

At this point, Kaizen is so much a part of my personal culture that I don’t even notice that I’m doing it most of the time.

Questions for You

What’s part of your personal culture?

What things do you do consistently without intentional desire?

What just comes naturally to you now because you’ve done it for so long?

Now. the REAL question:  

Does your personal culture help your drawers close more easily?

Admiring my little handiwork in the Heartland …. John