The Truth Hurts

Joe Ely at Learning About Lean shares my favorite lean post so far this year....take a look.

Essentially Joe is upset that his root cause analysis told him the truth, that he was avoiding the difficult task of fixing the problem.

I'm o.k. with people not "getting it." At least they have a fighting chance to learn something about themselves.

But after reading this post, this clarified something for me: sometimes people don't want to get it or maybe they don't know how to. They know the root cause. Why then do they not do anything about it? Well, Joe wanted to get it, so he did!

By paying attention to his root cause analysis, Joe really learned something about himself, one of the first steps to "getting lean." I wonder if, before his revelation, he didn't feel that he could do anything about the problem, was told that it wasn't important, didn't know what to do about it, or was told to back off. Either way, all options are a leadership problem. If Joe is working for a company, is there any excuse for his manager to allow these scenarios to occur?

Some managers though, will continue to use the same tired measures from 40 years ago. They know this causes wasteful behavior, but they continue to do it. Before you write them off, just remember that managers answer to someone just like you do.

This is why it is so important that continuous improvement start with top leadership. It is the leader's job to make people feel as if they are able to tackle problems, not accept them or feel as if they are stuck with them.

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At August 18, 2009 at 9:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We continue to see successful continuous improvement due to top-down support for lean initiatives. I like John Kotter's reference to the importance of leaders instead of managers when implementing change. One can lead, follow, or manage the status quo. All are needed but I agree that leaders must lead to make lean successful in empowering a work force to implement change.


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