The Toyota Business system is full of paradox -- one of the many things that make it unique.
Standards are one its most paradoxical elements.
Standardized work (STW), for example, the best way we currently know to do a given task.
Our Lean Brain Booster pocket cards each that we need "simple, visual standards for all important things."
I was taught that STW comprises:
- Work content,
- Timing, and
- Expected outcome
You'd think, therefore, that STW would be restricting...
But STW frees you up -- for learning and improvement!
My wife, Pamela, teaches kindergarten. Her class includes a number of youngsters with special needs (autism, learning disabilities etc.)
Children have difficulty with basic activities like tying their shoe laces, washing their hands, and going to the bathroom.
The latter, in particular, is rife with anxiety for many kids.
So, Pamela developed simple, visual standards for each of these activities.
Result: no accidents, anxiety or humiliation.
Effect: kids have more energy for learning. I'm very happy to report that Pamela's kids are thriving.
Lesson: Standards set you free.