I began preparing for the 2017 season a day or two after the 2016 season ended. The easiest way to be physically prepared (code for not fat) is to never find yourself out of shape in the first place! College football players are getting bigger and faster, and I happen to be getting older and grayer! 30 minutes of jumping rope, 360 pushups, 360 sit ups, all outside first thing in the morning, every other day. For over 35 years. The 2017 season really kicked off in March, when our first set of written exams are sent. The rule book gets picked up in February, and we spend some time every single day in it, preparing for open & closed book exams. Groups of officials get together for study sessions. March, April & May brings college spring games and scrimmages for us to officiate. The summer brings passing leagues and 3 day mandatory officiating conference clinics to attend. When we get to August, we work college scrimmages to get ready for our season opener. By that time, we are fully prepared for almost anything that comes our way on the field.
I was thinking about how similar this routine is to my vocation....lean consultant. I was also thinking about how beneficial our clinics and study sessions are in making us better officials. When you go to these sessions, you are sitting in a room talking about football with people who love it as much as you do! We help each other, pick each other's brains and help develop the newer officials, who some day will take our jobs.
Which brings me to the P4 Summer 2017 A3 Boot Camp (Creating a Kaizen Culture) in South Boston, Virginia on July 12th. Lean, like football officiating, is way too hard to go at alone. There's nothing like finding out that others have the same questions and concerns you have. My trips to international lean events (as well as benchmarking visits to other companies) re-charge me and give me new approaches to apply at the companies that I work hard for. Without these soujourns, it would feel like I couldn't see the forest for the trees. It is essential if you practice lean to re-charge and re-energize at least quarterly, preferably monthly. Running a business isn't 12 or 13 games.....it's game day every single day of the year.
The P4 Boot Camp is about having some fun, spending a day with other people in the same boat, and coming away with ideas you can try immediately. The focus will be about how to use A3 to slowly and steadily (every single day) work at the 2 main pillars of the TPS (Toyota Production System) House.....continuous continuous improvement and respect for people. You'll learn from people from companies where everyone does improvements every single day.
In the words of the great Paul "Bear" Bryant, legendary coach at the University of Alabama, "it's not the will to win that matters, everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that is most important."
Come join us on 7/12 in South Boston, VA, prepare for a fun and action-packed LEAN day!