I was asked a very interesting question last week, after I gave a lecture on 5S.

“Do you find that people who are very organized and who apply Lean or Six Sigma principles at work, also apply these same principles at home? Is this linked to a personality trait?”

Now I will confess right off that I am NOT always as organized at home as I am at work. Part of that has to do with the different amounts and types of stresses that are in the work vs home environment, and part of that is related to my particular personality trait or preference if you will. I am (believe it or not) an introvert by nature. Now, my favorite definition of the terms introvert and extrovert is not related to being happy in a crowd – but is relatedto how we recharge our batteries. Think of a Friday evening, when you have just gotten off work and are heading home. It’s been a long, exhausting week with a lot of extra time spent on the job. Do you prefer to recharge by (a) going to a party or event with a lot of excitement and energy in the room, or (b) going home or to a quiet place with soft music, a good book or show, and limited interaction? I’m in the (b) category, so I call myself an “adapted introvert” – most of my work is done with and through people, so at work I’m a driver and always “on” for my audience. At home I’m a low-energy kinda gal.

So back to the question – my answer was that I know many people who are as driven at home as they are at work – color-coded containers, everything in its place, ready for a surprise meeting or out-of-town guests at a moment’s notice. I also know people like myself who are very organized at work but more laid-back at home. Truthfully I don’t know anyone who is unorganized at work, but very organized at home. (But maybe I should get out more!)

What do you think? Do you agree with my categories, and would you have answered the question differently?

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