Martin Summerhayes (martinsummerhay) wrote,
Martin Summerhayes
martinsummerhay

All the effort without the results is meaningless or is it mindful? What about making a bed?

An active discussion on the amount of effort needed to complete a project within timescales and the lack of commitment to actually delivering the described results, elicited the following comment from one of the team:

"... all the effort without the results is meaningless"

This was said in a way as to belittle the contribution of the team member and also indicate a that they were churning with no outcome.

When someone drops a quote into a conversation, most of the time, often people will pause, look either wisely at the person and agree, or look quizzical and not make a comment, or very rarely do they say "what a load of tosh" - or words to that effect.

For me, I think that there has to be context to what the person quoted - either in their perception of the issue / challenge or approach being taken. Most often times the quote is used as a metaphor to try to convey subtly that they disagree.

I kind of remembered the quote, but not where it came from. A quick Google search and the result was "Toyota Production System: An Integrated Approach to Just-In-Time, 4th Edition By Yasuhiro Monden" [its amazing what you can use your mobile phone for when in a meeting!].

The full quote from the book is:

In today's real-world economic society, people are evaluated on their results, and effort without results is often considered meaningless, but if we avoid making someone who has tried their best feel as if they have failed, they are much more likely to try their hardest on the next challenge.

In effect the quote was completely taken out of the context to which it had been originally written in, and was 180 degrees opposite to the the issue it was trying to highlight.

I challenged the context in which the team member was being referred to, indicating that they were doing the best that they could as a person and potentially it was a lack of guidance and support to help them succeed which is what we should be focusing on.

Mindfulness asks that you think of life in the present moment and it got me thinking of the times when we all, as individuals do things that do not appear to have results and to others can appear meaningless.

Take for instance the simple task of making a bed. You go to bed at night and cover yourself in the bed covers as you go to sleep. You spend - depending on your sleep routine, anything between 6 and 12 hours asleep. You get up in the morning and might or might not throw the bed covers back when you get out of bed, possibly to air the bed. You might, later on, then make the bed so that the covers are tidy, the cushions puffed up and arranged neatly and the bed is "made" as the expression goes.

Now ask yourself this, why are you doing that task and who are you doing it for? Is it to please your partner? Your family? Or yourself? Why would you worry about making a bed? Isn't the outcome meaningless as the result is continuously having to be remade every day, day in, day out until you change the sheets to be washed, when you start all over again?

Just a thought........

Please feel free to comment or share what you might consider meaningless or mindfull?

Tags: management of change, mindfulness, toyota production system, work
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