Kevin Meyer has a great story about visiting a Toyota manufacturing plant, getting to see what lean is really about. JKE Day 1: Toyota Kyushu - The Manufacturing Ballet.
Do you think you understand lean? Then you might want to visit Toyota Kyushu on the Japan Kaikaku Experience.
His story is great. Many of the things I have heard and seen about Lean are right there in plain sight during his tour of the plant.
This article, particularly his introduction, where he says, "I thought I understood lean pretty well. I was wrong." reminds me that everyone has need of continuous improvement -- or at least that it is always possible. Many professions require continuing education, but the sense that I get from most people is that they do these things because they have to -- not because it brings new depth or breadth to their expertise. Of course, the fact that he had this particular expertise enabled him to see things that others may not have noticed -- or he sees implications in ways that others may not. That's the beauty of the prepared mind.
My father, retired many years, still reads his technical journals and heads to the local university library to collect still other technical papers. He's still writing Fortran code from time to time! Lifelong leaning in action.
This whole past year has been a learning experience for me in a new position, (somewhat) new industry, and a new city. And I expect that to continue, regardless of where i work and live.