‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

For the 2020 Holiday Season, here’s a little Lean levity from the ghost of Christmas past.  Most parents who celebrate the annual visit from Santa will have fond memories of “night before” experiences (a true story) like this:

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through our home,
I was searching for tools
But couldn’t find some.
A Phillips head and an adjustable wrench,
That I thought I’d last seen on my messy workbench.
And likewise an Allen set missing from sight,
Took an hour to find until almost midnight.

The Foosball game had almost one hundred parts,
With an eighteen-page book of instructions and charts,
Part A was to go with Part B and Screw C,
Confusing at best to a novice like me.
Which end was up and which side was right?
I thought to myself, “This will take me all night.”

As I laid it all out on the living room rug,
Mrs. Santa was laughing and gave me hug. 
“You can do it,” she whispered, “there’s plenty time.”
“Can I help you with it?” “NO,” I said, “this job’s mine.”

All through the night I assembled the table,
First building the base and affixing the labels,
And twenty-offensive and defensive players,
As I thought I heard family stirring upstairs.  

After five hours of rework and frustration,
I started to muse on our children’s elation,
When they’d gaze upon Santa’s fantastic creation. 
Just the right thing for playing on Christmas vacation.

As I cleaned up the mess and was turning around,
Down from upstairs came our kids with a bound.
“Just what we wanted!” they cried out with glee.
A memory for Mrs. Santa and me.

“Well,” quipped Mrs. Santa, “His elves are no laggards,”
“Except that the players are all facing backwards.”
Each team was assembled to face its own goal.
A defect, for sure, coming from the North Pole.
Indeed it appeared a mistake had been made. 
But the kids didn’t care, so that’s how it stayed.

Best wishes to all my readers for whatever Holiday you celebrate.  Please stay safe and wear a mask.  Better times are ahead. 

O.L.D.

PS Join me tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8, for a free “Tea Time with the Toast Dude Webinar” and a discussion of “Top Line Focus”. While most organization visions are expressed in terms of value to the customer, ultimately actual practice is very heavily slanted to cost-cutting and the bottom line. Please join me from 3PM to 3:45PM EST when I’ll discuss the pitfalls of that approach and suggest a different one to take. Reserve your seat here

3 thoughts on “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

  1. Michael

    Hey O.LD. I how the messy workplace resulted in a small defect in the product. Crazy that a clean, organized workplace can prevent so many errors from occurring.

    Reply
    1. toastguy

      Exactly, Michael. 5S is often associated with reducing motion waste, which indeed it does. But poor workplace organization also creates a stressful work environment conducive to mistakes.

      Reply
  2. Spencer Alkins

    Great post and way to get into the spirit! This is my first year really learning six sigma in significant detail, and it’s awesome to see how lean professionals like yourself relate just about anything you can to lean practices.

    Thanks and keep up the good work

    Reply

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