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Eyes


The eye of insects sees the details of the shop floor.

The eye of fish looks for the flow.

The eye of birds sees the overview.

The eye of a human sees the vision and other people’s points of view.

The eye of children sees things with curiosity.

Which eyes are you using?



The eye of insects sees the details of the shop floor. They live on the shop floor and find waste or problems there. They quickly focus on those “foods” and eat them up. If they see no “food,” they start searching for them. Each “food” might look tiny and may look insignificant. Yet, the abundance of these “foods” dramatically impacts the system. The ecosystem’s health depends on how well these insect eyes find the “foods” and take action.


The eye of birds sees the overview. Fresh flow brings oxygen and food to the fish. Stagnated water, such as a pond, starts to rot and will not become suitable for the fish to live in. This fish’s eye is necessary not only for material flows but also for information flow. Sometimes to understand the root cause of the problem, the fish must follow the flow in reverse. The fish needs to swim back and forth inside a flow—powerful determination to find the root cause of the problem.


The bird’s eye sees the overview. The scope of the overview should include the market. How well are we competing in the market? We must be aware of the shop floor’s position in the market. This bird’s eye is not just generally observing the big picture. The birds’ eyes can detect the tiny prey out of this overview. Then immediately glide down to catch it. They are not just looking at the big picture. They see the connection between the big picture and a problem on the shop floor.


The human eye is the most complicated one. First, we need to see the vision. Human is capable of using their imaginations. So we use these imaginations to create the ideal state. Then we can see the steps toward that vision. Vision without an action plan is a dream. The action plan should have a daily goal to see if we have progressed daily. Finally but not least, we should see in someone else’s shoe. It is essential to see what do operator sees. What does the customer see? What does our boss see? Since we were small, we practiced role-playing. By thinking about how others think, we can improve mutual understanding.


The eye of children sees things with curiosity. They keep asking why? Why? Why? It might be a tiny stick on the path or a pattern on the street. While the adults are used to living with it, they keep asking why? They make lots of mistakes. Yet, they learn and move on. Life is full of discovery. So when do we lose our curiosity? It was when we became arrogant to say, “I know.” And, often, we are forced to say, “I know.” Otherwise, we look dumb. Yet, who knows everything? Maybe a child’s eye is the right eye, which we choose to stop.


So when we go to the shop floor, instead of constantly observing the same way, sometimes changing the point of view helps us understand the shop floor better.

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