Category Archives: @Life

New WLK Logo

The blog has a new logo that I created a couple of weeks ago.    I don’t have much creativity, but I tried my best to design something that looked like what I wanted.    I used Powerpoint to create the image.   Nothing fancy, but way better than having Work Life Kaizen written in plain text at the top of the blog.

If there are any graphic artists out there that want an opportunity to get their work published, ping me!   Otherwise, let me know what you all think of the new logo?

—  Jason

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Training…Slow and Steady Wins the Race

So my last post which was far too long ago was about my entry into the Louisville Derby Mini-marathon.   Since I registered, I’ve been working on “working” off those extra pounds consumed during the Holiday break.    I’m running 2-3 times per week and playing basketball at least once per week and feeling a little better as I’ve been able to lose a few pounds.

I ran 10 miles last weekend with one of my buddies in the neighborhood and it was rough.  Why?   Well, for obvious reasons I haven’t been building up my mileage like I should so you could say I ran much farther than my body was prepared for.   The other reason was mental.   No matter what distance I’m running, I always have to fight the negative temptations to stop running.   That’s during a run and usually I can convince myself to keep going because I’ve forced myself to run an out and back and to keep getting farther away from my house so that I don’t have a choice.    More often though, the negative thoughts win out to keep me from even stepping foot on the road or treadmill.   I used to have more will power and drive to get up early, but lately I can’t make myself do it.    I’ve followed a few tricks to put my clothes and shoes at the foot of the bed so I don’t have extra excuses for reasons to get up, though this still hasn’t helped.

I want to know from other runners out there how do you fight the voices telling you to ‘go back to bed’ or ‘you can do it later’?    If you have any tips and tricks, please share!  Race is quickly approaching, only 27 days left!

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Committed to 13.1

I did it. I just registered for the upcoming Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-marathon on April 24th in Louisville, KY.   The commitment to run 13.1 miles requires lots of training, time, and determination to see it through to the finish.   I’ve completed this race over a handful of times over the years, and I’ve always been more of a natural runner where I can go out without putting in the miles, but no longer.   As I get older, I’m realizing the body can’t perform like it used to and I shouldn’t ask it to either.

I’m excited about this race because I see it as a milestone for getting my body back into shape.  I have roughly 3 months to train.  Immediately I need to start running more consistently, following a plan, watching the foods I eat, and drinking more water.  Over the last 2 years I’ve gained 20 pounds and I’d really like to see 15 pounds lost before the race.   Can I do it?   I believe I can.   I’ll keep you all posted on my progress over the next 12 weeks or so.

While I’m off training, ask yourself a few questions…

What have you committed to lately?

How would your life be different if you did?

What would you benefit from by saying yes?

Jason (WLK)

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Which Road Do You Choose?

I just returned from a fantastic vacation with the family to Orlando, Florida to visit the friendly confines of Walt Disney World (WDW) for 6 days at the parks!

The time with the family was precious.  I believe we all realize this more and more with age.   This vacation to WDW had me thinking about the interactions I have with my family as a Dad and husband, but also the interactions of thousands of other families I witnessed while walking an endless number of miles from ride to ride.

Tower of Terror anyone?   I say this because if you’ve ever been on the Tower of Terror, you know that is takes place in a fictional Hollywood hotel in an old elevator that goes through a series of ups and downs that raises you out of your seat.  Family life can be much the same, a series of ups and downs.

I sketched the picture below to illustrate 2 roads; the high road and the low road.  I realize we all experience both roads at times, but I know I want my family to spend as much time on the high road as possible because of the great memories that have been created this past week.

Which road do you choose?

Until next time,

Jason

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Getting to the Point

I had a great experience recently @ work that I wanted to share. We learned about a new personality test known as Enneagram. I’ve had past experiences with Myers-Briggs and the DISC model, but never heard of Enneagram until recently.  So what is it?

The word Enneagram is of Greek origin and refers to a diagram with nine points or lines. “Enneagram” is the name of the system of knowledge as well as its symbol (see picture to right).

There are 9 Enneagram types and each represents personality and characteric types that are said to be about what type of person you are @ birth. It’s not so much about what you’ve become, rather giving you insight into the true type of person you are, very close to your core being.

From my experiences thus far, you can realize for each Enneagram type what types of values, innate strengths, potential liabilities, preferred and challenging work settings, and work styles you prefer just to name a few. This was an eye opener to see what type I was and what type my fellow team members were so that I can use this for my personal growth and to help when coaching my directs or dealing with others like my wife, kids, and friends.

I’m definitely going to reach out and learn more and I recommend if you haven’t heard of Enneagram that you do some research and take a free online test to see where on the 9-point scale you fall.

BTW, I was a 3-The Achiever. I’m testing the wife tonight to see if we share a connection in the symbol 🙂

Think about your day, reflect, and put your energy into making tomorrow better @ work, @ life!

Jason

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Teach and Be Taught

Akio Toyoda, the newly appointed President at Toyota recently stated in his speech to the company about the importance for all team members to be open to the phrase “Teach and Be Taught“. This got me thinking how relevant this phrase is to the purpose and being of the blog.

Growing up as a kid my parents, teachers, and coaches always seemed to push me to think on my own and let me solve some of life’s opportunities (as I like to call then now). Instead of giving me answers or taking care of things for me, I learned the importance of being able to make decisions for myself and think on my feet.

For certain this applies to where I currently am employed, Toyota. As a company with a very strong philosophy where decisions can be made at all levels of the organization and you are expected to visit the gemba to do your own genchi genbutsu, you witness first hand the value of other’s taking time to teach and those being flexible to be taught. Toyota strives to make the workplace a learning organization and whether you work at a place like that or not, you should try to spend every day teaching others or learning something new whether surrounded by family and friends or with co-workers.

Lets take the phrase and focus on each word individually:

– Teach

– Be Taught

Teaching

Francis Bacon Sr. once said “Knowledge is power”. As individuals, we all have acquired different types of knowledge, some others have and some do not. Everyone takes to particular interests creating different levels of experience amongst peers. No one person knows everything, but daily you will encounter people who know more or less on particular topics.

When you know more, your focus should be on sharing that knowledge with others. Whether at home with your kids or at work with peers, you need to be open to teach. Teaching is not natural for some, but if we want to further those around us, you should make a point to teach something to someone everyday. For instance, this could be teaching your daughter how to swim in the pool or taking time to demonstrate to a peer at work how to run an effective meeting.

Teaching is not always in a controlled setting either. For instance, sometimes I hear team members who share that they don’t receive coaching from their Supervisors in their One on One meetings, but after asking some questions, you grasp that the Supervisor is giving specific coaching at that person’s desk throughout the day. Teaching others can come at any time or place. Don’t wait for specific circumstances to teach your knowledge to others.

Be Taught

Not everyone is interested in being taught. Some people believe their way is the best way and they aren’t always looking for feedback. To be taught you need to have an open mind. If you think that you can’t learn from your kids because you are older or that as a Supervisor you feel as if your way is always the right way, then you are mistaken. You need to start everyday with an open mind.

You also need to think deeply. When the opportunity arises to learn something new, consider alternatives and maybe through your deep thinking you can adjust other’s thinking. Situations aren’t so one-sided, you often can be teaching one moment and be learning the next moment.

Listening is a critical skill when it comes to being taught. So often when you are not interested or already thinking of your next action, you fail to give the moment you are in your fullest attention. Listening if done correctly requires discipline and a true interest in each of your conversations throughout the day. If you are sitting in a One on One and have become disengaged from your meeting because you have already covered your items, you miss out on an opportunity to learn something. Not every single meeting will result in you walking away with that “lightbulb moment”, but if you aren’t listening you’ll never know.

Genchi genbutsu (go and see) is effective when being taught. If you are learning how to play golf, wouldn’t you like to go see others play? Or if your Supervisor is asking you to learn a business process, wouldn’t it be easier if you went to the actual site where the users perform the process to see it yourself to speak with others and even do the work. When being taught, you should be willing to do some genchi genbutsu.

Starting the Day

From this day forward, think about how rewarding it would feel to know that you have shared your knowledge with others and in return learned something new that you could apply. See if you can apply the phrase “Teach and Be Taught” into your day and see how it impacts the people around you.

Any comments or feedback is welcomed.

P.S. If you have never heard of the ‘gemba’ or of ‘genchi genbutsu’, go do a little investigation on your own to learn more about it.

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life.”

Jason

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