The symbol Teiwaz (Tee-Whaz) comes from the ancient northern European culture. It is a symbol of leadership and self-sacrifice for the well-being of the group.
It’s shape is that of an arrow or spear pointing upwards. This indicates movement in a single direction (an upward direction). Ancient sailors used the North Star as their guiding light as it was fixed in the sky and they were able to plot their course based upon it. This positive ordering helps us in our work as we lead our teams through changes to become the best group we can be. This is the journey we are on, one of growth, both personal and as an organization. There exists a tension between that distant light of the star who never gets closer, but never disappears.
Frequently in my journey of improvement I have been awakened to the chaos around me, but the guiding principles gave me a course on to follow. One can find the way using the principles but it is much easier to follow the path with a guide.
There is a legend that Teiw, a warrior king, who this symbol is named after that he sacrificed his hand to subdue a wolf to protect his people. To lead, there is frequently required that we as leaders need to sacrifice. On the journey we develop the power of selflessness. Those that look for success will need to take direct action and powerful forward motion to reach those objectives frequently through relentless work, financial risk, or stress. However, the arrow shape symbolizes that implementation and concentration of that effort. Like the arrow or spear, we must aim our energy at the correct target.
Inside the Lean methodology the arrow/compass are also used for directing an organization to True North. It is a state of what that organization sees as perfect, it guides all decisions and improvements. People in the organization know that this state will never be achieved but it motivates them every day to make their work and organization a little bit better everyday.
Ben Shideler is the lead coach at Teiwaz and has earned his degree in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Calgary. His experience thus far has been spent in the construction industry. He has had roles of Project Manager, Quality Manager and Lean Manager. During that time he saw many inefficiencies in the industry and from the beginning began implementing industrial engineering and Lean principles to the work. Things like quality at the source, process improvements, schedule reliability and flow.
While his professional experience is in construction, continuous improvement started much earlier. He grew up on the farm in Central Alberta and was always looking to do things a little bit better. To make things a little bit more efficient.