What are the Key Ingredients for a Lean Culture?

What are the Key Ingredients for a Lean Culture?

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Paul McCartney, while in the Beatles, famously claimed that “money can’t buy me love" --  According to author Richard D. Brimeyer, money also can’t buy Lean. Rick’s book Working Great! Lean Leadership Lessons for Guiding Your Organization to Excellence contains 52 lessons for leader-managers, each with challenges for applying the lesson. The format is particularly conducive to a leader’s book club.

I chatted with Rick recently to discuss his assertion that sustained Lean success is driven by a handful of critical behaviors by managers at every level of the organization. Here are some of his comments:

Unlike so many management fads (reengineering, quality circles, etc.) that have come and gone over the decades, Lean owes it endurance to the fact that it benefits all stakeholders -- customers, owners/funders, and employees. Waste doesn’t help anyone. Unfortunately, I believe a lot of organizations embark on a Lean expedition underestimating the behavior changes required of managers at every level.

Although important, the ultimate measure of success for any Lean expedition is not how many kaizen events are completed, but rather how many improvements occur outside of formal events. The latter ultimately comes down to creating a place where employees care, where they are willing to expend discretionary effort, and feel competent solving problems and removing waste. Creating that place is almost totally reliant on the behaviors they observe from their leaders day in, day out to ensure:

  • Everyone understands the relevance of their work. 
  • Employees feel appreciated for who they are as well as what they do. 
  • Pathways for growth are evident. 
  • Successes (and efforts) are regularly recognized. 
  • A fair and responsive system exists for dealing with performance issues when they occur. 

Regardless of what we say, employees believe what we do. So being clear on key behaviors for leader-managers is very important. Ironically, these behaviors are consistent with any excellent supervisor, regardless of whether they are working in a Lean environment where flow and pull are practiced or not. Thus, the word “Lean” in my subtitle is practically superfluous, but these key behaviors are absolutely essential for establishing a Lean culture.

My goal for the book Working Great! is to provide a simple and useful resource for leader-managers, regardless of their level or experience. I hope to take the mystery out of culture by tying it to the behaviors to which they can hold themselves, and each other, accountable.

What do you think of Richard's points? Does the behavior of leadership at your organization reflect the true goal of the Lean initiative?



Original: https://leaninsider.blogspot.com/2018/11/what-are-key-ingredients-for-lean.html
By: Michael Sinocchi
Posted: November 26, 2018, 3:26 pm

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