When they invited me to be part of the Benchmark Lean Squad I was very excited.
This new lean concept idea was something that, from the very beginning, made sense in regards to our daily tasks thanks to the many digital tools and software that we use. Now, we are able to simplify them with Lean.
I simply loved the idea. Not only do I love being lean at work, but it’s also in my way of living. I even use the ideas of lean to rate my everyday activities.
Does this same strange? Well, imagine my motivation when they invited me to lead the Lean meetings for Latin America and Europe.
My super Lean team consists of 15 people. They are all from different countries and cultures, and we only have a few things in common: we all speak Spanish and we are all Benchmarkers.
The Meeting: Beginning Stage
“It can’t be. I have to conduct the Lean Meeting!”
Every day we read the diary of the Stoics, a beautiful book that contains the most celebrated quotes from Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, among a few others.
We also share our best 2-second lean improvements, a daily commitment to daily and continuous improvement. Everyone writes down their improvements and shares them. We also watched a video for personal improvement. On Fridays, we have our Core Value presentation, in which we reflected on and have a discussion of the same. It all seemed to be going fine and dandy, however, the reality was another.
Our meeting is held via a call, and not actually in person. This limits us because it does not allow us to see the true reactions of the ones behind the screen and, to be totally honest, I was not sure who was actually engaged.
Ensuring the team was interested and engaged during the meetings was and is a challenge. I cannot claim victory here yet, and I must admit this is something that we will continue to try and improve on. We have implemented a series of new ideas to make our meetings more interactive, and I say we because Frieder (Germany- Manager) and Raquel (Regional Manager for Europe) have given me their full support in every step. It has been a great team effort.
One of the first changes was to stop translating our Daily Stoic and to look for something in our own language. Second, we continued with the videos provided by the Lean Squad, but we were also busy looking for videos in Spanish and ultimately videos that peaked our interest. We also started sharing our screens, which was another great suggestion given to improve our meeting.
The second change, we started getting to know each other. One of the best experiences in my opinion!
It occurred to me, to create a drawing jar with each of our names and an activity for that day to draw from.
Here are some stories our team members have shared with us during our Lean 19 meetings:
I strongly believe we are now more than just colleagues. Like I said before, it’s a work in progress. That even I don’t expect the improvements to stop. We will continue to reinvent day to day, and hopefully, in the end, the team will enjoy the 19 minutes and adopt the lean concept. Why not become friends on the way to being lean despite the distance and those cultural differences that, at the end of the day, enrich our wonderful company.