• Bill Greider

The Harder You Work, the Harder it is to Quit

For some insane reason, I decided as a high school freshman in the year 19xx to go out for the track team instead of baseball. Football was my life, and I just figured all that running around would better prepare me for football season. I just didn't see how squatting for 3 hours a day (I was a catcher in baseball) would help me with my Heisman Trophy fantasy.

Beware of any coach with the nickname "Rock". His real name was Sandy McKee, and he built some very good track teams in the late 19xxs. It wasn't about special little techniques, or meditation or any of the fun visualization stuff. Nope. If our competition is running 10x 440 yard dashes in practice, we will do 30. If they're flipping truck tires, we're flipping trucks. If you didn't lose lunch in practice at some point, "your heart probably wasn't really in it."

Every day in practice, Rock would say, during our stretching time, "the harder you work, the harder it is to quit!" Religiously, every single day. Rock must have been oblivious to the huge number of people who quit the track team in the first two weeks of their freshman year. But, I have to admit, if people stuck it out, they usually graduated with track on their resume. As zealots. We worked way too hard to ever even think about quitting. (I still workout to this day in -30F wind chill, 35 years later, thanks a lot Rock).

Please humor me as I apply this little message to your "lean journey".

You may not know that my little company, P4 Lean Strategy LLC, offers Yellow and Green Belt Certifications.

As you peruse this shop of horrors, understand that if I want to get certified as a green belt in six sigma, I can go on Groupon, sign up, and do it over the weekend on-line while binging on "Breaking Bad" on Netflix.

Or, I can spend 1 full day a week for four weeks, learn how to identify a $20k+ project opportunity in my own facility, learn and apply fun stuff like input prioritization and linear progression on my project plus pass a written exam. Why would I subject myself?

Because I want to build zealots. And the only way to find out who those zealots are is "learn by doing". No lean journey gets out of the driveway if lean is thought of as a department, or something we do when we aren't too busy, like a hobby. The goal is to build a population of learners and teachers, not a top heavy lean function that fixes other people's jobs. (remember that it is disrespectful for ME to fix YOUR job). If people need to work hard to achieve something, there is a high likelihood they will use it. Conversely, if I sit in a chair and watch Power Points, I probably forget it 3 days later.

My lean journey at Duraflex got much more interesting when I was leading zealots as opposed to people who were acting more like the chicken than the pig with regard to breakfast. (the chicken is interested (eggs) the pig is committed (ham)).

Just think about how difficult it is to compete against a company of people who never think anything is ever "good enough".

"The harder you work, the harder it is to quit!!"-Rock (19xx)

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