My 8th Waste of Lean

April 8, 2010

There have been several claims for the 8th waste in Lean so I probably shouldn’t make another one, especially since this is not really a waste but more of a cause for waste. However, it was the least sucky header that came to mind at the moment.

When I write “teaching” and “learning” below, I don’t primarily mean it in a school sense, but what we get from our daily interactions with each other. The teaching and learning that occurs in our conversations.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
– Mark Twain

“What you know for sure that just ain’t so” – This is the mother of many a f-up. I love Mark Twain’s way to put it but I’ll refer to it as “bad knowledge” from now on. The reasons for bad knowledge vary; it can be from bad teaching, bad learning or just knowledge based on bad/old information. The problem is that we have learned something once and keep holding the knowledge for true.

  • Bad knowledge causes bad decisions.
  • Bad knowledge causes unnecessary arguments.
  • Bad knowledge causes need for unlearning.
  • Bad knowledge causes bad teaching which causes bad knowledge.

What can be done to prevent these extra costs imposed by bad knowledge?
A couple of suggestions:
Don’t guess – When teaching something make sure it’s correct. Don’t spread bad knowledge based on gossip, guesses and hearsay.
Admit mistakes – If you’ve spread bad knowledge; swallow your pride and admit to being wrong. Try to correct any mistakes.
Collate – As a teacher and/or student; collate learning, understanding and teaching. Make sure that the understanding is not distorted from what has been taught.
Expiration date – Be aware that most knowledge has an expiration date. Put an expiration date of your own on what you learn or teach.

And finally:
Listen – Have an open mind to new knowledge. Everything that you know has a probability attached to it and this probability is never 100%. So when someone presents you with an option, hear them out before resorting to what you already know … that just might not be so.

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One Response to “My 8th Waste of Lean”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Morgan Ahlström. Morgan Ahlström said: Lost my blogging virginity on (yet another) 8th waste of #Lean. http://bit.ly/amKPV4 […]


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