Effective Communication Skill Blog

Dad and My Masterless Plan

Living RoomLean Manufacturing arranges things according to the point of use and flow. I continually "lean out" my own home so our various processes/activities flow. I wanted to streamline my Dad's living area now that he lives there alone. With his limited mobility and vision, placement matters a lot. 

"What's the master plan?" Dad asked me.

Those are words that send chills to an interators' spine. They imply that one should anticipate every step before beginning a project. Once upon a time, I would respond to words like that by faking it. I have learned to stand up for my one-step-at-a-time iterative process. I told him:

"I'll start by getting that big table out of here and then see what works. My desire is to give you easy access to the things you need when you're in your chair. I want you to have stable surfaces to put things on when you sit. I want to get rid of obstructions and to clear a path to the light switch for the overhead lights. If you don't like anything I do, I'll put it back for you."

He was good with that. He left to make his bed and take his meds. 

I had waited until late in my visit to initiate the changes. I had watched how he operated and knew what worked for him and what didn't. Now that Mom is gone and he lives there alone, it just made sense to set it up for his low-vision convenience. He had expensive magnifying glasses that broke because he dropped them - because he didn't have a good surface to put them on. He needed a lap desk to work on. He needed to be able to reach the lights. I wanted to make it right for him. 

I was almost complete when Dad returned. I expected some resistance when he saw it. I got nothing but appreciation. I think his words were something like, "Wow."

And I did it without a master plan.

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