What P90X and Lean Have in Common

Posted on July 29, 2012 | in Change Management, Lean Wastes, Personal, Small Business, Sports | by

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We’ve all seen the infomercials. (Or have you? Maybe I need to minimize my late-night television viewing.) P90X is the relatively new home workout philosophy that consists of a training regimen lasting 90 days, requiring few tools outside of a few weights, pads, bars, and other implements, and a nutrition plan.

It’s apparently very strenuous and requires a significant amount of discipline and dedication. However, based on what the infomercial says (and the YouTube testimonials here and here) many individuals swear by it and it has changed their life.

Sounds a lot like implementing lean principles and ideology (aside from the drastic weight loss). So what does P90X have in common with lean?

Both help you “trim the fat.” P90X is a program designed to help people reduce weight and become healthier. Lean implementation helps you reduce consumption of resources where they aren’t required. With reduced dead weight, both allow you to add capabilities and do more with what you have (manufacturing companies could add production lines or individuals could try out that Parkour that all the kids are raving about.)

Both are inherently based on common sense, but neither will be an easy transition. In order to see big gains (or losses!) a philosophical change is in order. Examination of the entire way things are done will be completed. The biggest changes will occur over time but you must stay the course.

After Day 1, you might be in intense pain. Change will not happen overnight, and there will be a lot of processes and systems that are not used to the new demands being placed on them.

It’s not a quick fix, but over the long term the results are sustainable when a plan to maintain or continue to improve is implemented and followed. The problem with quick fixes or “magic pills” is that generally the problem isn’t solved and will eventually find its way back into the process. Taking a weight-loss pill says nothing about how you’ve changed the way you’re feeding yourself or the level of activity needed to sustain the lower weight. A quick process fix with shiny new systems doesn’t actually provide a perfect repair if the operators don’t know how to improve themselves or things around them.

The degree of improvement is contingent upon inputs and outputs. P90X not only uses a workout regimen but also comes with a nutrition plan so that you’re putting into your system the right resources needed to trim weight and become a more efficient “human machine.” Now think about a manufacturing process building up raw material inventory so that process problems occurring during process improvement (somewhat oxymoronic…or ironic) or a baseball team stocking up on condiments and hot dog buns because they simply don’t know how to handle potential jumps in demand. Getting improvements in one area while blowing up another area will end up canceling each other out.

Give it 90 days with your best level of dedication while maintaining an open mind, then check your results. It will be tough, but you have to give it a chance to work. Again, it’s not a quick fix. It’s a philosophical change, and that’s not as easy as flipping a switch.

Results may vary. Some have more to gain (or lose!) than others. Everyone’s different. That said, the point is to add flexibility and become more efficient – the extent of efficiency and flexibility gains all depends on where you’re starting.

If you remain skeptical about changing the way you do things, listen to others who have had success and see if they had the same thoughts you did at first. Testimonials (with pictures) go a long way to addressing this.

It’s not about the tools. It’s about answering the question “What is the problem we’re trying to solve?” There are LOTS of tools out there for improving an individual’s health, but what improvements are actually sought? What are some of the drawbacks? Magic weight loss pills? Surgeries? And what about businesses – implementing a new system without looking at the processes using the system could be a disaster if the system ever went down. There are other business improvement tools to use besides straight lean – Six Sigma comes to mind, since it’s somewhat different – and you need not implement every lean tool in your operation, just the ones that help you achieve the results you want and help you solve your problem.

Talk to an expert before starting such an intense regimen. P90X might put your health at risk if you stress a muscle or internal system that can’t be stressed. It all depends on the situation, so talking to a health care professional can not only tell you if P90X is right for you, but also point you in the direction of a health-improvement process that would work for your system. Same thing with lean. Not every tool is required, and adherence to lean principles in a very advanced-technology setting might take your operations a step backward. These situations are very rare but they do exist. (That being said, you could probably really use implementation of lean principles. I promise. I’ve yet to get into a business that hasn’t needed them.)

They both make you leaner. I’m sorry, that was too easy.

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