I just listened to Joe Dager's Business 901 podcast with Dan Markovitz of TimeBack Management on Individual Lean, the Root Cause of Success? and found myself nodding my head and smiling at many of the familiar themes I have taken with my interest in the topic of personal effectiveness.
The short form: Start with what you know. If it works in your organization, then it could work in other parts of your life. More broadly, if it helps you be more effective in one area, why wouldn't it help in other areas of your life? The concepts should translate between areas.
If you are a Lean organization, take those principles and apply them to what you are doing in your individual workspace or at home. If you do Kanban with your work group, look for ways to apply at home or out on the shop floor. If you are a Getting Things Done aficionado, how can you use those concepts to your team or organization? If knowledge management is important to you, how can the ideas of KM work at the individual level?
The examples discussed in the podcast were familiar areas for me. Information overload is a classic: rather than merely dealing with the effects of overload by being more conscious about when you consume, think about the underlying reasons behind the overload:
- too much email! Why do I get so much email in the first place?
- Not enough time to read everything! Why do I have so much to read? Why do I believe I need to read everything?
- Too much to do! Why do I have so many balls in the air?
One thing that catches in my mind is that I am not seeing as much writing about the "personal" aspects of Theory of Constraints. TOC does apply. There are tools within TOC that work for the individual - in particular the Thinking Tools can be used in many situations. Specifically, the idea of Evaporating Clouds or Conflict Clouds can apply anywhere - and many examples used in the books and training are from personal life. And there is the TOC Odyssey Program that is designed around applying the TOC Thinking Tools to personal life.
As a cautionary example, the podcast discussion also talked about the difference between translating the idea versus the application of the idea. Don't follow this example: