60% is Good Enough

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It is 2016! It is a new year and it is time for New Year’s resolutions.

I have been thinking about what I should write for New Year’s. I wanted this post to be something personal.

Pursuit of Rationality:

I came across the phrase “Pursuit of Rationality” in “Toyota Production System – First Textbook”, an internal document at Toyota from the 1970’s. The loose English translation of the relevant section is given below;

“Through thorough observation and pursuit of rationality, we can lay the strong foundation upon which we can build the strong castle of improvement”.

My interest piqued at the phrase “pursuit of rationality”. This has a strong resemblance to “pursuit of excellence or perfection”. It is explained in Taiichi Ohno’s book, Toyota Production System – Beyond Large Scale Production, that rationalization in Japanese writings indicate activities undertaken to upgrade technology, improve quality, and reduce costs. Being rational is being value adding, and not producing waste.

My message to myself and to the readers of my blog is also about pursuit – the pursuit of excellence while pursuing rationality. This may be better explained in Ohno’s thought process as well. Soon after leaving Toyota, Ohno founded the New Production System Research Association, a consulting group with his friends. This group had 25 doctrines that they also pursued. I am focusing on one of these for this New Year!

 Don’t seek perfection. 60 percent is good enough!

We spend a lot of time sharpening our axes, and never strike the tree. We try to get everything just perfect to start doing something, write a post, write a book, start coding etc. We wait and wait, and we end up never doing what we wanted. So let’s pursue rationality this year, and take action. We can always make it better, once we have started it. Let’s plan a little and then DO a little.

Step by Step:

The following is a story I heard from India.

It was pitch dark, and a man had to go to the next town miles away. All he had was a small lantern, and this could light only a few steps in front of him. The man just stood there not knowing what to do. The journey seemed so long and the night seemed very dark. He became sad and depressed.

A monk saw the man standing in front of his house, and asked the man what he was doing.

“I have to go to the next town, and I am packed for the trip. I do not know what to do. The journey seems long, and the night seems dark,” the man responded. “All I have is this small lantern.”

“You do not need a big lamp to illuminate the whole way,” the monk explained. “As you move, the light will move in front of you so that the next few steps are always clear. All you need to do is to hold on to this light and start walking. As the darkness clears with the rising of the sun, if you keep walking you will reach your destination”.

Always keep on learning…

I wish all my readers a prosperous and a rational 2016!

In case you missed it, my last post was about The Rashomon Effect at the Gemba.”

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