Lean, for Life

When I started my training and consulting business, Percipiant, I chose to name it based on the Latin word, “Percipio”, which means “To learn, to understand, to take on”.  I felt that this perfectly encapsulated my approach to Continuous Improvement.  I love understanding how things work and how to make them work better – so much so that I made Percipiant’s tagline “Understanding.  Solutions.”

When I teach and coach, I use a lot of “real life”, non-work Lean examples to show students that Lean is not just a manufacturing concept, but a common-sense approach to almost anything you are trying to be more effective at.  Over the years, I’ve had numerous students encourage me to write a book or create a website on how people can apply this sort of common-sense Lean to get the most out of their day to day life.

A few months ago, I began try-storming different tools, techniques, and “hacks” to improve my physical health, mental well-being, and personal productivity.  Some were “traditional” Lean; others were a bit more “out of the box”.  As I found the ones that had the most impact, I began to make them part of my personal standard work, with the first phase of my “experiment” starting on January 20th.

The Results…

8 weeks later, and I had lost over 35 lbs.  My LDL is down by 20 points and my triglycerides are down by 28 points.  My blood pressure, which has averaged 145/95 for the better part of the past 20 years (even while on medication) is down to 118/78.  When I had my annual physical last week, my doctor actually said, “Wow!  I need to do whatever you’re doing!”

Following my standard work, every day is enormously productive – I fall asleep easily each night, knowing that I accomplished the most important things I needed or wanted to do that day, and knowing that I have a plan in place for tomorrow.  I awaken each morning usually around 5am without an alarm, feeling alert and ready to get the most out of my day.

LeanBodyMind is Coming…

Over the coming weeks and months, I will continue to test and refine methods to improve my physical and mental performance as well as my personal and professional productivity.  I will be assembling and sharing this content in articles, videos and software templates as part of a new venture, LeanBodyMind, that will fall under the Percipiant umbrella.

I will likely be looking for volunteers to test my tools/hacks/methods after I test them on myself, so If you’re interested in joining me on this journey – or just curious about how this all plays out, follow Percipiant LLC on LinkedIn (please don’t message me for info – it will all be readily available if you follow Percipiant LLC).

And of course, I’ll continue to be available for Continuous Improvement training, consulting and speaking engagements…

Understanding.  Solutions.  For Life.

I really, really like the new commercial for the Apple Watch.  If you haven’t yet seen it, I encourage you to watch the embedded video.

There are a couple of things that really resonate with me in this ad.  First, I find it hugely motivational.  So many fitness ads feature an actor/model/athlete that is in such good shape that it’s hard for most of us to imagine attaining that look or level of physical fitness.  It’s too much of a leap to make the connection between where we are now and the state the advertiser is proposing.

The “There’s a Better You in You” commercial starts not with an athlete, but rather just a normal, mostly sedentary guy.  He looks tired.  He’s drinking coffee.  He looks to the chair next to him and sees another, slightly more cheerful version of himself.  That other version takes the first step toward bettering himself – he simply stands up.

As the commercial progresses, the actor (and all of his cumulative, better versions) keep seeing a more active and healthier version of himself: walking, briskly walking, jogging, running, then sprinting and then finally diving into the ocean for a swim.  Each iteration of the actor looks at the slightly better version and decides “hey, I can do that” and then steps up to the challenge.  If we can envision a better version of ourselves, we can act to make that vision a reality.

The second reason I enjoy this commercial so much is that it reminds me of how I was first taught Lean so many years ago.  The instructor told us that the world “kaizen” (which many folks define as “continuous improvement”) actually comes from two Japanese words: “kai” and “Zen”.  Most of us have a good idea of what “Zen” means – it’s that place where things are in balance and harmony, an ideal state.  The instructor told us that one translation for “kai” was “small step”.

Hence, “kaizen” translates to “small step toward the ideal state”.  Apple’s “There’s a Better You in You” commercial portrays exactly that.  You don’t go from couch potato to triathlete in a single, big leap; you get there by taking small steps.

I believe a lot of companies are like that sedentary guy on the couch, uncertain how to start their Continuous Improvement journey.  To them, I would say, “there’s a better company in your company”

Let Percipiant help you take the first step.