I was recently interviewed by an manufacturing association on best practices to prepare an organizational (it’s leaders, employees and shareholders) on how to prepare for and embrace Lean as a method to improve productivity.
Here are the top key elements I shared with the association. I thought you might find these helpful.
1. What’s in it for them?
Lean is a way of thinking, and requires the commitment of everyone involved in order to deliver the desired results. Lean has gained traction in some organizations, and fallen by the wayside in others (refer back to my earlier comments regarding Toyota versus General Motors). In Toyota for example, there is no such thing as “good enough” and this message resonates throughout the organization. Contrast this to most other organizations and you will find management touting the benefits of Lean (mostly in front of customers) while employees have a completely different perspective.
If you have a culture that embraces the existing mediocrity, then you must focus on convincing employees of the benefits Lean will provide to them. Employees should be clear on what Lean will do “for them.”
2. Forget the champions.
You have likely also heard that creating the right culture requires internal “Champions” to build excitement and momentum. Forget the champions, you need to find and engage the persuaders and the influencers, regardless of their position or authority in the organization. If there are road bumps, and there will be, these are the people that will persuade others that the initiative has been a waste of time. Get them engaged at the outset to ensure that the right message is carried throughout the organization, and to ensure they have some skin in the game. Bumps will quickly smooth out into gentle rolling waves if their reputation is on the line.
3. Succeed or your screwed.
First impressions are everything, and Lean deployment is no different. Start small to achieve positive results before you jump in with both feet. If your first initiative out of the gate fails, you might as well hang up your skates. Success out of the gate is an absolute necessity if you are going to build employee engagement, and more importantly, once you achieve success to any degree, make sure you tell everyone about it.
You can find more information on lean and operational performance by contacting me.
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.