Are lean geeks killing my improvement programme?

Feb 24, 2017

For some organisations this is great, the lean expert keeps them honest and challenges them and holds them to account until they achieve amazing things. For others this is really off-putting being made to feel guilty (or stupid) about having some waste still in the system or not being able to speak the lean language and so on. It’s not like the lean environment does not have it’s own waste too?!

In the lean community we have to ‘get over it’ and stop condescending to people. Our approach should challenge to improve but only one thing is really key as an outcome. Is the rate of improvement good enough? Those who’ve read previous blogs will know we see that as well into double digits.

We can’t achieve that in a sustainable way if we’re over-zealous in our methods and attitude we’ll simply leave everybody behind. So for the “lean geeks” out there go back to your first principle:

Understand value though the eyes of your customer

In this case the customer is the team or organisation that is trying to build an improvement culture. The rate of change needs to be at the rate the organisation can bear too much and they switch off, too little and they don’t achieve.

Experience can give us great insights into processes and systems. Often we find ourselves knowing the answers before the organisation in front of us does. When and how we share that knowledge is critical to a sustainable outcome part of our role is to develop that capability and make that judgement. We need to respect the power of self-led learning and understand when to eliminate frustration by sharing what we know.