Industry Magazine Get JACK'D Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 24

Paul Akers
Paul Akers is the founder and president of FastCap , a product development company specializing in woodworking tools and hardware for the professional builder . He has written three books on his lean philosophy : 2 Second Lean , Lean Health , and Lean Travel . Paul is an energetic speaker whose core passion is helping people discover their full potential and showing others how to implement lean in their business and personal lives .


Lean Culture
THE CONSTRUCTION industry is an interesting animal . I say that not just as an observer but as someone who has been involved with construction my entire life . I started off building guitars for Taylor Guitars . Then I went on to restore beautiful homes in Pasadena , California . Following this , I opened up my own general contracting business where I did a lot of restoration work and remodelling .
The one thing I have found about construction people is that they are creative . They are used to building things and creating with ease . Perhaps it is because of this creative bent that they are not as teachable as most groups of people . They are capable of solving their own problems .
I would separate people in the construction industry into two categories . Ninety-five percent of them have figured it all out , or as I like to say , they have genius disease . There is nothing new for them to learn . They have been there , done that . But I am seeing a much smaller group emerge that is interested in improving and learning , and what they are focusing on is thinking “ lean .”
By that I mean the idea of looking for waste and ways to remove it , be it physical waste or unnecessary steps in a process . Lean thinkers seek to eliminate waste in small measures every day . Once this way of thinking sets in , lean thinkers will see waste and want to eliminate it .
So why is it that this small group of lean thinkers has eagerly sought change in an industry that has remained fairly static over time in the way it works ? I can ’ t answer the question for sure , but my notion is this : The people that love lean in the construction industry are naturally curious . They don ’ t have all the answers but they love to learn . Better yet , they love to do anything that will improve outcomes and reduce defects , resulting in a better product . Lean builders work to satisfy not only themselves
but also their customers . And they have a tendency towards humility . Those are the characteristics of the people I see in the construction industry that love lean .
So my challenge to you is this : Is it possible that lean thinking could actually improve your life ? In order for you to really and fully understand that idea , you are going to first have to admit that you don ’ t know at all . When you learn about thinking lean , when you begin to realize that there is this lifetime journey of figuring out how little you know and how much there is to learn , then you will really begin to appreciate to learn the lean concept . So , as Steve Jobs said at the end of his commencement speech at Stanford University , “ Remember , don ’ t be afraid to be a little foolish .” Just because you are creative and you have been solving problems your whole life and building yourself out of every situation does not mean that you can ’ t learn something new that could quite possibly transform your life .
Get Hooked On Lean !
www . PaulAkers . net