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Seeing With New Focus - Lean and the Optician

Just before Christmas, I got my 1st pair of reading glasses, this was after much persuasion from my wife and daughter that something wasn't as good as it could be with my vision. The key hint apparently was me running out of arms length when reading books, reading labels on food for ingredients went a while before that. 

I was actually pretty certain that it was more that I was just at the end of a long year and I was tired and had 'tired eyes' but I thought I'd get an expert opinion, so I went to the optician for a check-up. As you'd expect there were a bunch of questions, what brings you here today, how long have you felt you had an issue, when does it seem worse and of course have you ever had glasses before. This is then followed up with some tests, some of these are really basic ones like the colours on the wall or reading the letters at a distance and some are a little newer like the blowing air into your eye to check intraocular pressure which tells them if you have a bigger problem like glaucoma. They take photos of your eyes and look for blood flow and any spots on the cornea and a whole bunch more. For me a lot of it reminded me of the Michael McIntyre sketch about going to the opticians.

Once all of the testing and questions were done the optician informed that actually yes I needed reading glasses and I should also use them for working at the computer but that my long distance vision was exceptionally good, they reassured me that actually getting to my age (I'm 47 at the time of writing just in case you are reading this in later years and think he looks way older than that) without needing glasses, especially since the rest of my siblings have all had them since their 20's. I have to admit to some satisfaction knowing I had outlasted them.  

Michael McIntyre explains a trip to the opticians

Then I had to choose frames, I took my daughter with me as my designated style consultant, I no longer get to buy clothes without her input, apparently a repeat purchase of my green Merrell footwear was the last resort. I tried on numerous frames to find one that didn't make me look either mad, daft or just weird and finally found one that felt like they fitted me, and they got the nod from the daughter as well which was good.

A week later they were ready to be picked up and used… suddenly I could see just how bad my close-up vision had been. Things that were fuzzy were now sharp, in focus I could even read the small print. They do however take a little bit of getting used to, remembering to put them on for the PC, remembering where they are that I now have a tool to see clearer with when things are a little fuzzy and of course initially at least they it can be a little tiring as your eyes get used to them.

The Lean View

Talking about a trip to the optician in a lean blog may seem a little, well out of focus but let's just think about it for a minute. For most organisations there is a generally a realisation at some point that something isn't quite right. Maybe the shareholders or board have pointed this out or maybe the employees themselves (which is often the case). They look at the metrics and tolls that they have and from what they can see it should be fine but there is a little fuzziness around things.

They decide its time for another opinion and so they look for an expert to help them. They may try on a few experts until they find one that fits with them, understands their problem and gives them confidence that they can help.

The consultant they choose talks about the 8 lean wastes, what they are and how to spot them and of course the impact they will have on the organisation if left as is and if they are fixed. Waste is more than just a defective part, it's a whole barrage of things that steal time and resources from the organisation and you have the power to stop it. The organisation may push back.. but our competitors haven't had to do this or even, well some of them did and seem to be doing well with it, but we have managed this long with out it we thought we would be fine.

The focus happens when the consultant helps them to see these wastes within the organisation and the impact they are having. Soon enough the new focus is there, and people are used to thinking about these 8 wastes and can spot them, they become crystal clear and now the metrics become clear, the actions that need to be taken become clear. The longer vision or goal has always been good but now the shorter-term steps and actions are pin sharp. Remove the waste.

So here is our advice if your organisation isn't performing as it should, if it's fuzzy around the edges... learn about the 8 lean wastes and get a little focus on the things that are making operations harder than they need to be. It will take a little adjusting to but once you are there, you'll never go back.

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Thursday, 02 April 2020

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