Sunday, October 14, 2007

is Lean a nightmare?


lean is a nightmare in many ways: It is a nightmare for all the people that think that the way to implement lean is by copying over from Toyota and putting it in the same way in their companies. This is a big mistake.

When that happens, you will find people saying thinks like this:

"Lean, which introduced new working practices, has caused work-to-rules in some tax offices. The Public and Commercial Services Union said the terms were examples of Lean's 'excesses and ludicrous nature'.

And Labour MP John McDonnell said: 'The whole system has been a nightmare from start to finish. It treats people like serfs and has brought a once professional operation to a near standstill." (This is an extract from an article. To read the entire article please click here

But why people would say such a thing?

Imagine that you are told today that you have to clean your desk because that is what the company wants.... what would be your response? most likely "screw you, mind your business, @#$k, etc..

That is exactly what happends when people are told what to do. Humans like to feel important and like to discover things on their own. So if you want to implement lean, or whatever other thing in your company or in your family or with your friends, the first behavior that you have to avoid is the behavior of telling what to do.

When implementing radical changes, like implementing lean, you will have to work very hard and for a long period of time in the culture of your company. The culture of your company will be the results of years and years good and bad management, years of frustrations or successes and years of years of doing the same things over and over. Understand what people needs are, understand how people are rewarded, understand how departments are rewarded, understand what type of managers you have (doers, firefighters, leaders, etc). Once you understand this, then you can start thinking how can you adapt a lean implementation for your company.

Always ask first and try to understand, then explain what is what you want to accomplish and explain how that would benefit the others (employees, managers and excecutives).

If you try to start implementing without understanding first you are sure set to failure.

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