My Kung Fu brother and I spoke last week and he taught me something that remains with me:
I continue to do Wing Chun because it allows me to create
In a business setting, how many of us can say that we enjoy what we do because it allows us to create? In fact, from my experience, when something becomes too difficult, businesses all-too-easily pull out their wallets and hire a consultant, preventing any need to think and creatively solve their own problems. This is analogous to good-hearted-but-misguided parents that do everything for their children, robbing their children of precious life-lessons.
I’m not casting judgment on consultants, but I am making a judgment on weak mindedness that companies often exhibit, robbing their employees of the opportunity to think, to create, and to contribute to solutions to the challenges the company is facing.
There are times when organizations need outside expertise and help — and that is perfectly fine — but too often companies “give up on thinking” and quickly hire outside help. This type of thinking is weak-minded and is antithetical to Lean Thinking.
A Simple Principle
An unsaid principle of Lean Thinking is this, said in two different ways:
No explanation needed — before you spend money, think first; before you beg for resources, use your creativity first.
A North Star
My mentor taught me a long time ago about life lessons; growing up a poor, fatherless, immigrant has shaped my character — for that I am thankful.
Just like people, organizations need a north star to follow — a guide that is steady regardless of market fluctuations. Ideally, the company culture & mission ought to be the behavioral demonstration of that north star, but sometimes it is not. These types of organizations that have a shallow culture are the ones, I submit, that will not be around when the market shakedown is over because their roots aren’t planted deeply.
In these tough times, I am reminded of my dad’s favorite poem from his hero and mine, General Douglas MacArthur:
Build me a son who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is a afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee – and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spew of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.
Nevermind the Jargon Monoxide of Lean, Lean Thinking, Six Sigma, etc. — Mind Before Money and Creativity Before Capital is just plain good business.