1st step to Lean: Define Your Passion-Develop Systems and People

1st step to Lean: Define Your Passion-Develop Systems and People

There are many necessary components to a Lean mindset and a very important one is passionate commitment.  Lean implementation is not a verbal acknowledgement that you recognize its value and you support it.   Your commitment to lean must be nothing short of passionate if you  want to have a lean system that will truly thrive.

Before you can have passion, you must understand what you are committed to.  What do you believe in?  What is Lean to you?  Lean is just a word, and we all know that it can be interpreted many different ways.  For many years, I actually refused to use the word Lean as a descriptor of my profession because I think a majority of the interpretations don’t align with my beliefs.  You are going to have to deeply understand what your beliefs are.  My path led me to learning as much as I could about the Toyota Production System and the way Toyota runs their company.  From that model, combined with my own aspirations, I have formed my passion.

In true TPS form, you should start by asking yourself WHY you want to implement Lean.  Many top leaders will tell you it’s because they want to improve profits.  Yes, it’s true that Lean companies are more profitable than non-Lean companies, but you must think more deeply than that.  You can cut costs in many ways, but if you aspire to implement Lean even remotely on the same level as the world’s leading Lean companies, you are going to have to take a far less superficial approach than that.  Let’s start with understanding that a Lean organization will focus on value instead of cost.  If you focus all of you efforts in creating value, you will open your eyes to far greater possibilities than your run of the mill cost cutting program that many companies do, commonly with less that desirable results.

Autonomous systems and people development are fundamental components to creating value.  Developing an entire system where every component has a purpose that supports the others and propels the whole organization forward to the desired direction creates value.  Then, developing the people who understand and believe in the same direction and those people must know how and why the organization is successful ensures that value is baked into the culture.  This means the people must be trained, respected, challenged and empowered to develop and improve these components that drive the organization.  So to get started, you will need to:

  • Define your beliefs
  • Recognize that value is more important than cost
  • Understand the purpose of your beliefs
  • Determine the components that you need to fulfill your vision
  • Create an autonomous system with those components
  • Develop your people to understand and share the same vision
  • Develop your people to be able to design, implement and improve your system that supports your vision

I am going to be discussing the Lean Mindset in several parts.  I would like you to take some time to deeply reflect on what your beliefs are and we will discuss putting them into practice next week.

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