Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursdays with CC: Blessed Discontent

yes, this is a friday. but my thursday was preoccupied with other things. but that's another story.

now, where were we? ah yes, blessed discontent.

i picked this up from a reading on japanese quality management. it is the spirit behind kaizen, continuous improvement. snd the antithesis of 'if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it' mentality. a paradox really. but eventually you will realize that at the heart of life's greatest learnings are paradoxes we must not just accept but actually understand.

one of the factors for the success of the company is a never-ending quest to improve one thing or another, be it a process or a product or a policy. im constantly challenged to see if something could be made better, knowing that things could never be really perfect. but such a mindset is a not based on being constantly unsatisfied. whenever something is achieved, an event is successfully mounted, we glory in it. i heap lavish praise where credit is due. then when the dust settles, we objectively looked at what could be better. there is profound gratitude for a job well done, for a process that. works seamlessly. but coupled with that gratitude and acceptance is the seemingly paradoxical perspective of thinking that 'lets see how things could be done better'.

in your daily tasks, try as much not to be held hostage by the tyranny of what is, of status quo. even within your cubicle, or with your team, you could always take a step back and see whether there are things that could be improved on. challenge yourself to uncover these hidden sources of efficiency and/or value. dont let the naysayers dampen your spirit. and there will be a lot of them.

as you try to work out an improvement, you can work on it silently. i suggest you do not trumpet your work-in-process. find a mentor, a senior manager, preferably your own boss and make him as a sounding board for your ideas. i would emphasize that this must be someone you can trust, since it is in essence your intellectual property. but even on a worst case scenario when he/she gets the credit for something you actually conceptualized, be consoled by the idea that your idea WORKED. your attempt to improve something actually was successful! and that is quite a fulfilling feeling!

take care also not to ruffle feathers along the way. remember that certain previous processes have been owned by others. and your improvement should NOT make them look bad or inadequate.

so even as you appreciate what is, you can always think of 'what could be.'

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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