Lean Blog Audio — Lean People Don’t Say Things Like “Idiot Proofing”

In the Lean approach, we don’t call people idiots or dummies. We don’t say, or shouldn’t say, things like “idiot proofing” or “dummy proofing.”There’s an old Toyota story about how the term “fool proofing” upset an employee, they switched to using the equivalent of “mistake proofing” or “error proofing.” Read more about the story in a comment on an old blog post of mine.

Terms like mistake proofing help us focus on the process and the system instead of blaming individuals. Instead of labeling people as idiots, we have to focus on improving the system so it’s easier to do the right thing and harder for errors to occur.

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