What is getting in between you and Lean?

You are spending much on Lean, but is it being invested well?

Do you know the major reasons that might be responsible for the lack of success?

Can it be traced right upto your desk?

Lean transformation is all about bringing in the right changes in the management, operations and the fundamental ideologies of the business. The change in operations & ideologies depends on change in management, which in the end is all about changing behaviors. We need to measure the right metrics to ensure that the behavior and mindsets change in the manner desired. THIS HAS TO BE DRIVEN FROM THE “TOP” – there is just no other way.

Doesn’t that mean we are facing a situation where the top management has to be highly adaptable, flexible and accepting to changes?

The most common reason for the lack of success of Lean transformation can often be traced to the desk of the Chairman (or) MD (or) the CEO (or) the Leaders in the organization.

Here are a few pointers to show how you might be going wrong:

  • Insisting nothing is wrong
  • Think there is no point in trying, since all is lost
  • Reading about lean and assuming that you know all that you need to know.
  • Hire a guy to do a few kaizenevents on the production floor and assume they are Lean.
  • Excuses for every problem, to justify that improvement is not required.
  • Leaders believing that there is no need to learn about the mundane details of the shop floor, they’d rather stay in the office.
  • Assuming you can implement lean having watched a lean expert from a distance and mimicking the moves.

If you as a leader are having any of the above thoughts and are going to attempt lean implementation, it will be a failed attempt unless the you accept the change yourself.

Lean implementation has to start with strong top leadership that has the desire to engage themselves even more than they expect their employees to.

In the late 1940’s and early 50’s, Taiichi Ohno successfully led the implementation of  TPS as the Plant Manager in one of Toyota’s engine plants, but he also had a hands on background as an eager engineer.

He constantly observed as he walked the floor daily, he held people responsible for improving their work place.  He insisted that people learn and practice new ways.  He was always seeking to learn the truth and to authenticate improvements.

So what if you are in that boat?  What if your leadership is described by one of those lines (or some thing worse that you can come up with)?  What if you are a leader and one of those lines describes you? (if that’s the case, you deserve a lot of credit for your candor).  Don’t worry, all is not lost.

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