5 Lean behaviours we should all practice

Lean is much more than just a tool box. James discussed the key lean behaviours required to drive sustainable rapid improvement.

Hopefully you have been enjoying my articles (if you haven’t I’d be pleased for the feedback). If you have been reading along then you will have ascertained that my belief is process improvement does not in fact begin with the processes – or at least not the tangible processes.

I believe that to sustainably change processes for the better, we must concentrate on our people. If this is the case, then as Lean leaders we must start by ensuring our own behaviours are displaying the sort of characteristics that will support and encourage the right thinking within our teams.

So what are lean behaviours? Well I’d be hard pushed not to agree with Bob Emiliani who defined Lean behaviours as those that add or create value. Beautifully simple.

Of course, what Dr Emiliani means here is that any thoughts, ethics, actions or practices that create waste are not Lean behaviours.

I often hear about a blame culture in organisations; ‘it was their fault’, the other person, team, supplier.. even Customer!

Think about what this behaviour drives in the organisation and specifically all of the barriers that this sort of practice creates. Now think about the Lean fundamental of flow.

Clearly blame drives waste into our management processes.

There are a great deal of Lean behaviours that we can all benefit from to drive the right culture and reduce waste in our organisations. Here I would like us to consider 5 simple behaviours that can promote flow in our team working, management and decisions to drive rapid improvement of our processes.

  1. Trust – Create collaboration through real empowerment and allowing each other to try and learn
  2. Honesty – To promote the presentation of facts regardless of if they feel good or bad
  3. Listening – To be inclusive and give all team members the time and attention required to obtain the best understanding
  4. Respect – Provide everyone with the same level of respect that you would expect. Everyone has a part to play and all parts are required. Everyone wants to add Value and so we should strive to help them
  5. Consistency – Ensure that behaviours, actions and ethics remain unwavering. No-one wants to waste time guessing

5 simple behaviours that reduce waste in our collective thinking and actions. We must be honest with ourselves and use our Check and Act to ensure that we are honestly displaying these. If, on reflection (a bonus Lean behaviour), we are not, we modify our behaviour until we do.