Saturday, October 25, 2008

Soft? Skills

I've deconstructed my reaction to "soft skills." Partly, I dislike people labeling other folks work in any less than equal status terms. Who gets to do such labeling? It's disrespectful.

Semantically, hard has two antonyms


If both Soft and Easy have the same antonym then subliminally


So soft skills must be easy skills, not worth paying attention to, much less paying for.

With all the emphasis of the privileged 'hard skills' like math and engineering we drift further from sheltering everyone and openly celebrating our interdependence. Perhaps this imbalance is silently dissolving the love that binds us to each other and all living things.

Never to criticize without offering an alternatvie, we can call these skills what they are: people skills, communication skills, negotiation skills. Human skills. Loving skills.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daily Lean

I am an self-taught when it comes to Lean Production. This is one of the names given to the revolutionary (still) insights generated by the Toyota car company beginning in the 1950s. It is also called Toyota Production Method (TPM) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), Just in Time, and other names.

One part of the philosophy of lean is try out the small adjustments, if they work, keep them until more adjustments occur to you. Here's an example.

I ride my bike as transportation. I have enjoyed this activity in two cities. I have to lock the bike whenever I leave to have a good chance of seeing it when I return.

This requires a lock and key. The key hangs on my lanyard along with my whistle around my neck. When I use the lock the cord wraps and hooks sometimes around anything available, causing frustration and delay.

So, I get a new bag that has a two-part key chain. The type where you can detach the keys from the ring.

Enter creativity :: I moved the detachable key ring to my lanyard.

Now, it's very easy and I had to adjust to the change (remember to use it).
That was success for about three weeks, when more creativity :: I could delete the detachable key ring and use the lanyard clip that's been there all along.

Now I lock my bike and there's no tangled lines and accessing the key and replacing it takes just a few seconds.