The following statements are true in a Lean environment but are culturally hard to accept initially:
- If you set out to solve a problem but get a different & unexpected favorable result, the experiment is a failure.
- If you didn’t set out to solve a problem but see a correlated improvement, you can’t take credit for it.
- “A process that quickly jumps to a solution … without a good understanding of the root causes, though it may achieve desired results, would not be viewed as a successful project.” – Understanding A3 Thinking (Sobek/Smalley) Page 15.
It is tempting to want the positive feeling of celebrating improvements especially if a team was engaged in creating change. Fight the urge and use the situation to help people understand how to problem solve, experiment, and measure cause and effect. For the failed experiment, use it as an opportunity to hansei about what was learned. Getting “Lean thinking” will be far more engaging than a pat on the back for an accident.
My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation. How can I help harness that inspiration?