X — Your office is incredibly quiet and peaceful. Don’t you have any angry customers or suppliers calling from time to time?
Me — I tend to visit Lean offices and workshops these days, so I can’t compare to your place, but apart from the machines’ noise most are indeed pretty focused on the job at hand.
X — You’ve got to tell me the secret: I’m desperate for a smooth and tranquil day at work.
Me — Sorry, but the secret is « there’s no secret ». Take a problem, try to get to the bottom of it with whoever can do something about it, rinse and repeat.
X — But I’m bombarded by calls and texts and emails from just about everybody in my company: it feels I have to be on top of everything all the time.
Me — So who is on your teaching list?
X — What do you mean? I’m no teacher. I’ve barely enough time to give directions or instructions when called upon.
Me — So why are they calling you, maybe you’re the one having a problem? If your goal is « having a smooth and tranquil day at work », surely receiving impromptu text messages all day long is a pretty big gap from this ideal scenario.
X — And you think teaching a few people there or here would help?
Me — You’re right maybe I was a little too presumptuous. Maybe you could start understanding a little more about who’s calling you most often. Is it the sales guy or the shop floor manager? The graphic designer or the accountant?
X — Well it’s definitely not the accountant: she’s on maternity leave and I have to fill up her job as well…
Me, joking — And I hope it’s not your banker! But more seriously who’s calling you the most?
X, frustrated — Hmm, I would have to check on my phone and it would take a little bit of precious time. Do you really think that’s the most pressing issue I should be addressing right now?
Me, shrugging — I don’t know. I’ve made my own choice for the kind of work environment I wanted years ago. But the Lean literature says you can or should start with angry customers and their complaints. And I have a feeling you most direct customers - your own team - are quite vocal…
X, irritated — But they’re not my customers, they’re my team! They should be working for me.
Me, whispering — I think I’ll keep the kanban cards at bay for the time being…
X — Sorry, I didn’t quite hear your last phrase.
Me, aloud — Remind me of visiting your customers' service if I ever get a chance to visit your office…