I recently uncovered a box of books I thought was lost years ago (before I knew about 5S!) This time capsule contained material I read about 15 years ago while still in college and managing my own direct sales business during summer breaks. It was fun to flip through my dusty paperbacks and read my notes. One of these books was “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins. Little did I know it at the time, this influential book was my first introduction to Plan-Do-Study-Adjust thinking!
Robbins writes about what he refers to as the Ultimate success Formula and points out that this is the consistent path of people who have attained excellence. Here are the steps:
- Know your outcome
- Take action
- Recognize if your actions are taking you closer to your goal or farther away
- Develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you get what you want
These steps directly reflect the Shewhart PDSA Cycle which is a core principle for Lean practitioners. I truly think it is the ultimate success formula!
By following PDSA, you will save yourself the waste that comes from doing an activity without knowing the outcome you want. You won’t be stuck in analysis paralysis and will actually do something to make improvements. You will continuously improve when you seek evidence from your actions to see if they are producing what you expect. Being able to adjust and change your approach in order to achieve the results you want will put you miles ahead of someone who keeps trying different variations of the same thing but never getting different outcomes.
One big learning I had from re-discovering this book is that I have been drawn to this kind of improvement thinking for my entire professional working career. Even tough I didn’t know what Lean was, I was getting a little glimpse of it!