Pull The Rope

andon.cord

When we think of pulling a rope, we might be thinking of a tug-of-war, or swinging on a rope over a lake’s edge.

This isn’t the case for this post.  I’m referring to the Andon cord used at the NUMMI plant almost a decade ago on it’s assembly line.  This is what the line worker is doing in the picture above.  Incidentally, this is also the new home of Tesla’s assembly plant.

As a result of pulling the rope the entire assembly process stopped, completely.  The line supervisors were immediately notified a particular line station having a problem.  This did two things – it kept defects from entering a vehicle before it reached final assembly, and it empowers the entire plant.  Anyone could “pull the rope”.

The andon cord is one of many Lean Manufacturing attributes and principles used in many different spaces, healthcare, software development and engineering, to name a few.

“Pull the rope” for me is about stopping or ending production of outcomes which stem from waste in my own life.  Things I’ve wasted over the last few decades have been time, money, and opportunities.  I recently created some space in my life by decluttering material and mental things.  This gave me the opportunity to look at the “waste” (also another Lean attribute) in my own life to see which outcomes I must avoid.

I began to pull the rope when I saw those outcomes materializing in my day.  And I have been diligent about stopping those outcomes for the most part.  This is mental muscle I need to train, it will get stronger with practice.

The result was being more intentional with my time, resources, and opportunities.  Being the INTJ I am, I created a whole plan on my birthday this year and didn’t deviate from it.  How could I keep from deviating?  I saw many better outcomes from this plan.

We know no plan is perfect, and I’ve tweaked this plan as I learned more about the exact outcomes I wanted, and more importantly, why I wanted these outcomes.  The what and the why didn’t always meet when I put this plan together – I just knew I needed to pull the cord on some things, and cut the cord on many others. I did modify the plan, but only when I learned more about the what or the why.

Are there things in your life you need to pull the cord on?  I don’t know, but you probably do.  And if they’re things which manifest themselves into waste you may want to start with those.  To clarify, when I refer to “waste” I wasn’t necessarily thinking in terms of landfills and septic tanks – the Lean definition of waste is something that doesn’t add value.  In this context it would be something which isn’t adding value to someone’s life – stress, relationships, finances, etc.  Those three things are top of mind for me.

For me, pulling the rope has added a lot of value to my life in the short term.  I only see it getting better from here.  I hope it can do the same for you.

j@s

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BRB

Big Red Button

Nope, I don’t mean “be right back”. If so, I would have said that about three years ago when I last posted last, which would have been a lie. Instead I’m referring to the big red button.

Years ago, when we wanted or needed to reset a computer or server, we’d simply say “time to hit the big red button!”, or simple BRB. Times change, and so does the context in the way we use acronyms.

My BRB moment came in late September of this year, a few weeks before my birthday. I came to a point in my life, later rather then sooner, where I understood some change was needed. I wasn’t sure what, but there was something inside pushing for change. How did I know this, or how did it manifest itself? Many things felt disrupted, disturbed, off-center, and (not or) incongruent. Things I enjoyed in the past seemed to be much less enjoyable – and I looked forward to them less and less.

So, to quiet this feeling I started paying attention to what had been going on around me over the last few years. As I mentioned, this happened just before my birthday, and every year I do a 3-4 hour retrospective on my life. On the afternoon of birthday I list in detail, what could I start, stop, or continue. This years list was longer than usual, much longer than the one from previous years. This immediately told my journey need to change – and it did.

Since that time I’ve been executing on the plan I gathered from the start/stop/continue list – and respecting the subtle cues I realized from the previous year’s start/stop/continue list.

I spent some time this morning reading all of my previous posts, and I realize even more the journey is very different than before. And this is a good thing, we become less passionate about things over time – totally normal. The trick for me was I didn’t notice soon enough.

This is where the new blog posts you’ll read, start from. I have 7 topics including this one about this journey, and the recipes I came up with or borrowed from other writers, bloggers or something that influenced me to some type of “aha” moment. Trying to be my own best critic about successes and failures, maybe… something will strike a chord in you as well.

j@s

Weekly Photo Challenge : Texture

A few different textures going on here… as soon as I walked by this “frame in my mind” I thought, how cool does this look?! This is a power box located next to a light rail depot in Winter Park Florida (think Mayberry RFD) – great town, very photogenic.

I thought the stand the box is on looked like driftwood, and the box itself has had probably a dozen coats of spray paint.  The grass looked new, but the trees (AFAIK) are as old as the city.

j@s

texture

Dancing Through Another Door

Father.Of.The.Bride

This year my youngest daughter is getting married.  She asked me to pick the song for our Father-Daughter Dance at the reception.  I’m the music snob of the family, so I’m thinking, I-have-so-got-this!  Right?!

Not so much. It took about a month of listening to the rest of the world’s suggestions, combing through my own library on every device I own that holds music. Finally, I narrowed it down to 9 songs for her to choose from.  I realized I couldn’t pick a favorite, so we’ll work together to narrow it down further.

Below is the playlist running off Spotify.