Monday, 20 October 2014

Pursuit Of Perfection

Can continuous improvement make sense without the intent to pursue perfection? Can kaizen (change for the better) make sense without an ideal? Ideal need not be a destination. Vision need not be the farther shore, the other place where, having been transformed, our current problems won't occur. How many times have we seen a new investment replace an old one - with exactly the same problems and misconceptions carried over?

Ideal can be a movement, a posture, an angle of view. Ideal can be an act that you repeat endlessly until perfect, almost perfect, one day perfect. Ideal doesn't need to arrive, it can also be a journey:

Would Toyota value and cultivate Takumis
 if it didn't recognize the need to pursue perfection? Would the finishing touch of every operation be as important if we didn't need to see how good we did, how far we went?

Continuous improvement's discipline only makes sense in the context of the pursuit of perfection, our inner drive to master an activity, to clean up our act, to seek the economy of movement that makes the juggling balls spin without apparent movement from the hands. The place of aaah!The gap between the ideal of our inner vision and the reality of what our hands can achieve is the creative tension that keeps us improving step by difficult step.

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