I have been blessed with formal mentors from whom I’ve learned a lot, but much of my learning has come from informal peers. These relationships have helped me develop as a leader and lean practitioner. Through both AME events and personal invitations, my fellow lean practitioners have opened their doors to me so I can learn from their practices and processes. They have explained concepts, shared tools, taken time to listen and help me think through obstacles, and help me celebrate my successes.
We benefit greatly from the networks we build and the partnerships we form. These relationships enrich our professional and personal lives and provide resources as we work to continuously improve.
Right now, our individual and organizational experiences run the gamut. I have heard from many of you who are prospering under our current conditions, but I also know that many of us are struggling and still others feel like they are just getting by. Wherever you are on that spectrum – whether you’re in need of support or have support to give – please think about your network and reach out to them. Consider who has your back and who needs your support, and don’t be shy about reconnecting.
An individual wire will snap if too much force Is placed upon it, but wrap it with other wires, and you can suspend an entire bridge. Likewise, there is power in the bridges we build with other lean practitioners as we try to get – metaphorically, at least – from Point A to Point B.
For AME – a nonprofit that relies on membership and events to fund the pursuit of our mission – we are fortunate to have tremendous partners and sponsors in our corner. Our volunteers form the backbone of this support network, but it goes beyond this. We have reciprocal membership agreements with our partners at SME and Women in Manufacturing. We have partnered with Lean Frontiers for our Energize Your Journey webinar series leading up to the AME International Conference. Our Lean Certification program is an industry-leading partnership with SME and Shingo Institute. And we are partnering with LeanCor, Reshoring Initiative, NAM, CME and Next Generation Manufacturing Canada for our supply chain-focused Pathway to Excellence webinar series and related AME Toronto 2020 programming.
Like any worthwhile relationship, these alliances take work to foster and maintain, but they are important for our members and our lean community. They provide knowledge and exposure to new thinking. They even open doors to expand your networks.
I encourage you to think about your personal and professional network. Continue to cultivate them by reaching out to those who need your support now, and reconnect with peers and mentors to keep your relationships strong. You may consider joining one of AME’s free virtual lean coffee break idea exchanges to grow your network and make new connections. A network is powerful, and there is no time like the present to build and reinforce yours.
And as always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.