Egypt, a few years ago, working with a major client.
Just before the demonstrations in Tahrir Square that led to the Egyptian Spring.
My Egyptian colleagues were gracious, hospitable and hungry to learn.
Dozens of questions on standardized work, visual management, problem solving, strategy deployment.
I answered as best I could, pleased to have such eager students.
After each session, team members came up to shake my hand.
"We are so happy," a young fellow told me," to meet somebody like you."
"What do you mean - someone like me?" I asked.
"You respect us," he replied.
Somehow, sadly, this was an abnormality.
Lean principles, like Respect for People, seem to connect with fundamental human yearnings.
The desire for safety, security and respect.
The desire to have a hand in designing, and improving, your work, and to creating value for your customer (both internal & external).
The desire to be part of a team, in a great enterprise.
During the same trip, I asked the senior executive sponsoring our work, about extremism in the Middle East.
"Invest; give people decent jobs," he replied, "and all that crap would disappear in no time."