A common complaint I hear when helping organizations learn how to use lean principles, practices and tools, is, “We have so many problems, so many projects and so many goals, we don’t know what to work on first.” People are usually very surprised when I ask them what they can STOP working on…what work isn’t valuable to the customer or doesn’t get the organization closer to its goals? And the reason that they are surprised is that we’re often so focused on ‘doing things’ that we forget that not doing something – especially those things ‘that we’ve just always done this way’ – is actually a possibility. As I often point out to people, Yoda said, “Do or DO NOT”, he didn’t just say, “Do”. Figuring out what not to do is just as – or maybe even more important – than just doing things!

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