Our team recently had the opportunity to learn directly from Sensei Chihiro Nakao, founder of Shingijutsu USA.
We will continue to study and deepen our understanding of what he shared, but one area he helped illuminate is the relationship between JIT and Jidoka. Specifically, a process that has so clearly defined “normal” that “abnormal” can be immediately detected and corrected is only achieved if it delivers just what is needed, in just the required amount (the first two steps of JIT). Or simply put, if variation is the norm (normal = abnormal), then detection and correction are not possible.
Ouch! Sensei distilled the central riddle of my seven years consulting in health care into one sentence. At first, this was a discouraging thought. The silver lining that emerged is that the question “where do we start?” from front line teams becomes easier to answer.
As a result, for the next while we are exploring the following improvement focus with teams:
- Define and experience “normal” and “abnormal” in more and more detail, and as that clarity grows, take immediate action to correct any abnormal situations.
A simple concept, but proving to require much focus and discipline. Sensei Nakao challenges us to see why we must have urgency with correction: if an abnormal situation isn’t immediately corrected then the process is actually reinforcing that as normal – missing an opportunity and taking a step backwards in our improvement trajectory of understanding the work in more and more specificity.
In an event a few weeks ago, I was face to face with an opportunity to stop the process and strongly encourage one of the team members to take the abnormal form back upstream to the provider and ask that it be fixed. Somehow my discomfort with the cognitive dissonance this real time confrontation would cause (or that I imagined it would) gave me an excuse to wiggle out of immediate detection and correction.
I am living proof that simple is not easy! A few easy steps to follow and I couldn’t bring myself to bring the last to life! Further humbled, I will carry on, and try again, hopefully returning to report a stronger constitution soon.
In the meantime, it would be helpful to hear how you have helped teams do immediate detection and correction. What have your experiences been? What have you learned?
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