New Behaviors

@font-face { font-family: "Verdana"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } One time I had reason to attend a funeral service for a person I did not know.  As I listened to the eulogy I learned something about this person.  In particular, the priest emphasized that she was a good person not by virtue of any outstanding or extraordinary acts of character.  Rather, it was what she did every day of her life in very small ways that added up to being a person of high standing in her family and community. 

The priest said her character was like a rope.  There is no one fiber that threads the whole length of a rope to give it strength.  Instead, it consists of many small strands woven together in a way that results in a strong and dependable cord.

As I listened, my thoughts began to turn to what we do every day on the shop floor as the small strands of a rope that become woven together into what we call our culture.  The character of that rope is the sum of our learned behaviors.  What are they like? 

Anchoring change in our culture usually doesn't happen through extraordinary events that overwhelm everyone's resistance.  It has to come from systematically modifying daily behaviors in ways that build new strands in the rope.  But what happens instead?  Most of our supervisors and team leaders spend their day in a hustle and bustle that leaves little time for thinking about improvement.  "There are so many problems!" they say.  In this case, the rope we call Daily Management consists of so many strands that are compromises and workarounds that our culture becomes one of fire fighting and just fixing to get by.

But think about this. That culture didn't just happen.  It was made by our own hand in the day in and day out behaviors we encouraged and rewarded.  We made it and we can change it the same way it was made.  By changing our daily behaviors.