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Top 5 TPS Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda

May 23, 2014 | Posted by Matt Elson

Jedi Master Yoda

Some light reading for this Friday, but still relevant.  Yoda was a Jedi Master for over 900 years, so he saw a few things, made some mistakes and had his failures.  The most important thing about Yoda was that he never gave up.  Ever.  Yoda was also constantly learning and reflecting.  It could be argued that true wisdom comes with experience, both positive and negative.  

(BTW, I realize that Yoda and Jedi’s are fiction.  I realize there is no such thing as the Force.  TPS Practitioners are NOT Jedi’s.  TPS is NOT the force.  Just bear with me…)

1)  “You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned”

TPS (at times) seems to contradict many “traditional” operations management practices:

          • Less inventory is better
          • Exposing problems (and the “pain” that goes along with them) is the goal
          • Being uncomfortable is desirable
          • Overall system efficiency is better
          • The process is as important (or maybe even more important) as the result

Simple, manual systems may be better than complicated & technical systems and processes.

2)  “Do Or Do Not.  There Is No Try.”

TPS is learned by doing, under the guidance of a mentor, not in a classroom, seminar or though a PPT presentation or SlideShare.

You must take action to move forward.  Go try something.  Go do something.

3)  Develop Others

Teaching and developing others is the most important role that a leader has.

“Pass on what you have learned.”

4)  Your Work Is Never Done

Ever after 900 years of training, don’t pat yourself on the back.  There’s always many more problems and much learning ahead.

The journey to true north is NEVER over.

Learn from your experiences, contemplate and reflect on them.  Then continue the journey.

“Much to learn you still have.”

5)  Never Underestimate The Power and Abilities of People

TPS is about building the capacity in people to solve problems and make improvements.  The target condition is:  Everybody, everyday doing kaizen.

Never underestimate the power and abilities of people to make positive changes.  Never underestimate the limitless potential in everyone.

The experts that do the work every day have the ideas and answers.  Our task is to pass on our own experiences so that they can make changes.  Changes that improve the safety, quality, quantity and cost.



Difficult to see.  Always in motion, the future is.”  

Don’t follow your assumptions.  Always “go & see” for yourself to develop a deep understanding.  Take action.  Teach others.

By following TPS techniques and thinking way you CAN successfully navigate through anything!

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