The back-to-school season conjures several thoughts and emotions. Two weeks ago, I talked about how this time of year can inspire us to be lifelong learners and remind us of the importance of continually gaining knowledge that we can apply to our teams and enterprises. Beyond that, there are myriad other feelings, memories and takeaways that you might have as you think about your time returning to school each fall.
You may remember the anticipation and nervous energy of not knowing what the year ahead might bring. If school was a challenge for you academically or socially, the return to school may have put you on edge. Or perhaps you remember the excitement of getting to hang out with your friends (or maybe even your childhood crush) for several hours each day for nine months.
As you reflect on your time at school, I hope, above all else, that you think of it as a time of incredible possibility. Of course, that’s probably not what you thought about it back then — it was probably more about the friends, the anxiety, or the crush. But now we can look back on our past with perspective and learn from it so that it continues to propel us forward.
That perspective and our ability to apply the lessons we learned to our current state is at the heart of continuous improvement. We take our past, apply it to our present and build for the future.
Likewise, that’s what your professional team or enterprise is probably doing. Successful organizations honor the past, celebrate the present, and improve for the future. This is how we inspire ourselves, our organizations, and future generations.
To help us improve the future for the next generation, we must be beacons that signal our current state and provide a roadmap to get to our future organizational aspirations. Here are three things you can do to inspire the next generation and help create a future that is built on our past:
- Mentor lesser experienced coworkers so they understand how you got to where you are. Share knowledge with them, and you might be surprised that their perspective give you new ways to improve upon your foundational experience.
- Inspire younger generations and students by giving them a glimpse into potential career paths. Facilitate a Creators Wanted Manufacturing Day 2021 event or similar events. Reach out to high schools and colleges and offer to speak to industry, career or business classes. Support and bring lean thinking to organizations like Project Lead the Way or Virtual Enterprises International.
- And, of course, direct people to AME where they’ll be exposed to people and tools that honor lean’s past, celebrate the agility of our present situations, and provide the foundation for a successful future. AME consistently offers many free or low-priced events and a robust YouTube channel with great content, both of which are great entry points to lean and continuous improvement. Plus, with our bundled sales offer for the 2021 and 2022 conferences, there’s never been a better time to register for the world’s largest lean conference and join a powerful network that will help you share, learn and grow.
It is important that continuous improvement leaders share our knowledge and our past experiences so that the next generation is empowered to go further.
As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.