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But you must never stop striving. This is the routine of continuous improvement. This is one of the keys to obtaining collaborations with small, granular process improvements at the level of the work that the employees truly own. A Lean culture is successful when workers are informed by metrics of work variation and empowered to make change, in concert with their leader, using the scientific method of data-driven plan-do-check-act PDCA.

Transforming this culture of work and the structures designed to foster continuous process improvement by the workers is the responsibility of the leader. To begin a Lean journey without thinking through this structural element is toying with failure. In a true Lean management culture you do not have to have all the answers anymore.

Your people do. The answers you provide are the overarching goals, priorities, organizational structure, reporting relationships, accountability, pace of change, removal of barriers, provision of resources, communication outside the department, and the recognition, reward, and incentive to work in the new order. This approach to work as a leader allows you to continuously tap the creativity of the workforce.

10 Principles Of Business Transformation

Without a structure there will be potential chaos with so many anxious to use their newfound empowerment. Its one thing to tell someone they are empowered but quite something else to provide a structure to ensure that they act as such by respecting the existing order. This empowerment may range from serving as a leader of a defined work team, representing team members in a customer-supplier meeting, or serving as a team member who consistently signals defective work and its causes through workplace whiteboards.

We have made extensive use of whiteboards as simple tools to help the individual worker and the team communicate within and between work cells, connect work cells horizontally across the path of workflow or value stream , and make the workplace visual for those doing the work as well as those managing the reliability, consistency, and stability of the work Figure 1. Whiteboards are only fully functional as visual workplace tools when leaders create the enlightened culture that encourages blameless identification of mistakes and provides an organizational structure and reporting relationships that incentivize empowered workers to contribute to daily defect resolution.

Your new role as leader is that of cultural transformer. The strategic planning process of top management should be structured to obtain agreement and definition of the quality mission and goals, establish team leader and team member training in process improvement, identify quality targets, and support learning at the shop floor level by the workforce.

The team member, who is often on the automated line, is responsible for calling attention to the defects encountered or stopping the line so they can be fixed. Whiteboards provide a visual structure for workers to participate in the daily identification of defective work product or service. This approach also facilitates worker buy-in empowerment to change and increases compliance with the new work standard.

What is lean and where did it come from?

From our own experiences at Henry Ford, we know that when workers contribute to the change, they are more likely to experience ownership. Change then, is not made by but facilitated by the teacher who is defined as an internal expert, knowledgeable and experienced in the area taught. This also promotes worker accountability. In health care, we do not have a shop floor or an automated model line producing cars.

Why Lean-Agile Leaders?

But we do have analogous opportunities for highly educated and trained workers, not just team leaders, to become engaged in the process of improvement at the level of the work—at the bedside, the clinic, the laboratory bench, the radiology suite, the emergency room, the intensive care unit, the operating room, the kitchen, etc. Figure 2 depicts the Henry Ford Production System model used for transforming work with a defined quality organizational structure with team leaders and teams that are responsible for work cells. We define a work cell as a semi-autonomous and multiskilled work team that contributes to a task, service, or product that is used by or serves another group in the workplace.

If there is no designated team leader for a work cell, make sure that there is one. The designation of a team leader for process improvement does not require Human Resource Department permission. This team leader is key to driving and facilitating the team-based approach to process improvements at the level of the actual work. From this structure, opportunity for customer-supplier meetings are fostered for teams to improve processes horizontally as the work flows across existing silos of control. Structure also enables us to more effectively succeed with key Deming management principles 6 through 9, which call for managers and team members to behave differently when encountering problems that they can now resolve in a blameless manner.

These principles call for instituting modern methods of training on the job, instituting modern methods of supervision and leadership, driving out fear, and breaking down barriers between departments. Organizational chart for a quality system structure that facilitates worker-driven continuous improvements at the level of the work, along the path of workflow. To showcase the numerous improvements made by an empowered workforce, and to allow them to understand their importance in the organization, it is important to design a reinforcing and sustaining venue for them to share process improvement lessons with their peers.

We documented process improvements in the Henry Ford Hospital Figure 3. The Lean transformation was extended in to 2 additional community hospital laboratories and an additional 29 outpatient clinic laboratories, resulting in nearly 1, total process improvements that year. By , with all 5 hospitals and medical centers participating, nearly 1, process improvements were generated by an empowered workforce of laboratory employees throughout the laboratory service line.

These Share the Gain public presentations, with reinforcement of improvement methods and work principles, are a continual learning mechanism that has greatly assisted in sustaining a change in the culture of work and worker involvement in that change. We have set the pace for change by expecting one process improvement presented per month per team. These need not be completed improvements but can include progress updates of interventions in process or even process improvement attempts that failed.

Lean Management: The Role of Lean Leaders | LeanKit

These 1-hour monthly meetings showcase 8 to 10 work cell team presentations in the larger laboratory divisions. The smaller community hospitals find it more convenient to hold their meetings within their main laboratory. We encourage attendees to participate in question and answer sessions to reinforce the work principles, rules, and tools applied. Presenters are shop floor workers who are given individual artistic freedom in presentation.


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This forum allows the workers to not only share their improvements but to receive praise from their peers and be recognized and rewarded by leaders who attend the meetings. As a leader, through this reinforcing mechanism, you are also developing your next generation of leaders and solidifying your new culture. The value stream is defined as the entire set of activities within an organisation that are necessary to deliver a product or service. This is the end-to-end process delivering value to the customer.

Having determined what the customer wants, the next step is to identify how well the organisation delivers this to the customer. Create Flow by Eliminating Waste. Usually, when a value stream is mapped in a manufacturing organisation, just 5 per cent of processing activities actually contribute value in a service organisation, this is typically around 45 per cent.

Respond to Customer Pull. Lean methodologies seek to produce only what the customer wants, at precisely the time the customer needs it. Pursue Perfection : Creating flow—and responding to customer pull—begins with the radical reorganisation of each individual process step. Gains become truly significant when all the process steps are linked together. As more and more layers of waste are uncovered, the process moves progressively towards theoretical perfection.

Creating organizational cultures based on values and performance - Ann Rhoades - TEDxABQ

When it has reached this point, every asset and every action adds value for the end customer. The continual application of these five lean thinking principles within an organisation, as set out below in Figure 1, will lead to the lean philosophy becoming embedded within its culture. All rights reserved. Remember me. He moved to Japan in the mids without knowing a single word of Japanese, only a curiosity to learn about the Toyota Production System.

What he observed contradicted everything he had seen and heard in Western organizations. The Western belief was if you told people to think differently they would suddenly act differently. What Shook actually experienced at Toyota was that changing the system of work is what led to a change in the way people behaved. This is what SCRUM, XP and many other agile methodologies actually try to enforce — a change in the system of work using iteration, ceremonies, reflection and cross-functional teams to change how people interact and ultimately behave.

Sadly many organizations still believe that sending staff on a one or two day certification course can suddenly make them agile, adaptive and aware. Often the result is people blindly following a methodology of what to do without ever understanding why they are doing actually it. Working software is an experiment, just a really expensive one.

Unfortunately building the entire solution and only then testing it with customers is still the prevailing model of operation for most organizations. One of the key components of the Lean Startup movement championed by Eric Ries is to encourage teams to test their business hypothesis as quickly and cheaply as possible.

How to create a high performance culture in your organisation - the ‘Lean Thinking Company ’ way.

This is achieved by creating a Minimum Viable Product MVP — a basic early working example, prototype or experiment to test the area of greatest uncertainty related to the hypothesis. A MVP approach enables you to fail fast and cheaply, while also gathering valuable data from the experiment. One of the most important aspects of agile and lean methodologies is working in small batches. Reducing the size of work batches enables us to optimize for end-to-end throughput of our system of work.

This allows use to gather data against the outcomes we achieve and compare them to our initial expectations of success. Secondly, the data we collect becomes inputs for reflection, decision-making and adapting strategies.


  1. Planning a Storage Strategy.
  2. Buy This Book;
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  5. Lean Thinking About People and Processes — Life Cycle Engineering.
  6. How are we moving toward the desired outcome? Should we adapt the objective of our original mission? The longer we wait to collect data to inform our next steps — especially when operating in extreme uncertainty — the higher the level of risk we are exposed to. The best way to build trust with stakeholders is with frequent demonstrable progress. Showcasing small, completed pieces of work fast and frequently creates feedback mechanisms, trust and belief that team members can deliver.

    Teamwork is about trust. Trust is about believing in your team members to deliver. You create belief with frequent demonstration of progress. Customer testing should be for breakfast, not dessert. The best people to provide feedback on your hypothesis are real customers — not your boss, or colleagues, or even team members. Make sure you design a system of work that gives the team frequent opportunities to test and incorporate customer and user feedback. Following a recent ExecCamp , one of the participating executives sent me the following note:.

    The real people you need to talk to is our customers. Validated learning means that we test — to the necessary degree of precision and no further — the key assumptions behind the hypothesis to understand whether or not it will succeed, and then make the decision to persevere, pivot, or stop. Their success is on time, on budget, on scope without any learning mechanism to ask the questions; Did we achieve the outcome we expected?