After their long stay in US, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other celebrations have become a part of life for Mr. Miyagi and Mrs. Miyagi. This time they are preparing for the season little early. They had many things to get done before the Christmas. With Mr. Miyagi’s heavy involvement in recent projects, he had no much time for all these. But somehow he managed to take control of everything. When one of his friends asked how he can keep things in control, he smiled and replied with his unique accent “I’m a lean man, you know.” What do you mean? Asked his friend. Mr. Miyagi replied “You know Michel, lean is not about business. It’s about life. You do lean not only in business. You do lean in your life.” Michel paused for a moment and said OK, but he was seemingly little confused. Mr. Miyagi smiled.
Later that day, Mr. Miyagi and Mrs. Miyagi had a chat about the things they had to do before the Christmas. As Mrs. Miyagi took the lead, Mr. Miyagi was listening to his wife. Mrs. Miyagi talked about so many things they had to get done before the Christmas; it looked like almost too much for them. After a while Mr. Miyagi interrupted his wife and said “Miki, please bring me a pen and a notebook.” Mrs. Miyagi slowly got up from the low mattress they were sitting on and went to the office room, grabbed a pen and notebook and handed it to Mr. Miyagi. “Thank you very much Miki” said Mr. Miyagi while taking his pen and the notebook. Mr. Miyagi said, Miki we shall put down all the things we have to get done before the Christmas on a piece of paper. Mr. Miyagi with his lean experience knew, you have to know what you want to do before thinking about doing them better. So they started.
Their list did include about 20 items, which was already looking manageable. Among them were getting new cloths, buying gifts and arranging a party. Mr. Miyagi asked his wife “What do we have to do immediately?” Mrs. Miyagi highlighted few of the items on their paper. Some of them were about making a phone call. So Mr. Miyagi made a phone call immediately and completed the job. Now two items disappeared from the list. Things to be done shrunk, almost immediately. Then came the bigger stuff. One of them was buying gifts for the family and friends. Mr. Miyagi knew this needs some planning. OK, we will list down what we should buy for each person, said Mr. Miyagi. In a new page he started writing down.
Who are the people we should buy gifts for? Asked Mr. Miyagi. They prepared a simple list. There were about 15 people on the list. Then they started a small brain storming session to decide on the gifts each of them are going to get. Mr. Miyagi knew in Christmas, recipient of the gift is his customer. So Mr. Miyagi wanted to satisfy his customer. It began with understanding what exactly they want.
Mrs. Miyagi said “let’s check on Facebook. We can get some ideas”, she added. So, Mrs. Miyagi logged into her Facebook account and started searching. Mr. Miyagi also had a Facebook account (yes, he is not young by any means). But he couldn’t remember how to login or how to do anything on it. Sometimes he wandered why everyone is so excited about this thing. Anyway he was watching his wife doing the search. Then she came up with some ideas. “Look, Yuu wanted something called Xbox. He said few days back, he would love to get one for this Xmas. Hina wanted a doll” She added. Mr. Miyagi was very excited. He thought to himself, “isn’t this a cool tool to have, even in the business. You can know about what employees and the rest of the world is thinking about you?” He was silent for a moment, until Mrs. Miyagi came up with some more useful ideas.
Once the Facebook search is finished, Mrs. Miyagi proceeded to the Amazon.Com’s wish lists. She found some information about gifts too. At the end they could come up with possible gift ideas for 10 of the people. Mr. Miyagi was very impressed, but had a question. “What will happen if someone else is also buying the same things for the same person?” we can return them, replied Mrs. Miyagi. Although Mr. Miyagi knew inventory is a waste, this time he had no choice. So he agreed.
So they had to buy a 1 Xbox, 1 doll, 1 iPad for their grandchildren. Yes, these were somewhat expensive. But they valued the joy of their grandchildren than the money they had to spend. So they finalized on the gifts. In addition they had to buy a 1 Kindle, and 1 set of Lego and few more items which were not expensive. For the others they decided on Giftcards. Both Mr. Miyagi and Mrs. Miyagi agreed, Giftcards are the perfect gift if you do not know what exactly other person wants. Although they lack the looks and feel, they are very effective as a gift, as they provide the ability to exactly meet the requirement of the person who receives it.
At the end of this exercise they planned out where and when they are going to buy the gifts. Some of the gifts will be bought online. For the things they had to deliver to Japan, they decided to buy them immediately and ship. At the end of the exercise, both Mr. Miyagi and Mrs. Miyagi were very happy. They felt two hours they spent on the exercise was well worth it. They had much more in control over the things they had to do.