Get On Board!

Gangway to MV Doulos

Image by chooyutshing via Flickr

[tweetmeme]You have been hearing about the benefits of Lean Manufacturing for some time now.  You may  have even read Still Not Convinced? 4 More Reasons  to Get Lean here. Are you ready for your organization  to get Lean?  If so, your team needs you to get on board!

Your team needs you to get on board because one of the top reasons for Lean implementation failure is leadership.   In fact, leadership is regarded by many Lean Practitioners to be the primary reason that Lean efforts fail.  Richard G. Kallage states, “Almost all lean experts agree that the main reasons for implementation failures involve senior management and ownership. These people are ultimately responsible for everything that happens, or doesn’t, in the company.”  Additionally there are numerous LinkedIn group discussions citing leadership commitment as a critical ingredient for success.

There are several reasons why true commitment and involvement from the top down is critical to success.

  1. Your participation shows that Lean is important – your team recognizes how busy you are and they recognize that you only have time for the top priorities.
  2. Lean is not the flavor of the month – your active involvement will keep the Lean transformation alive.  Delegating as far down the organization chart as possible will send the message that it’s someone’s program to manage.
  3. You can remove barriers – you can eliminate obstacles when you are involved for a couple reasons.  You will understand how these issues are affecting the team’s progress because you see them yourself.  You also have more influence as a senior manager.
  4. You are looking at the big picture – department managers will look at how to improve their areas.  You need to be looking across then entire value stream.
  5. Lean is your priority – you will improve Safety, Quality, and your cost metrics through Lean initiatives.

[tweetmeme]Your active participation in Lean is critical to its success and to the long-term stability of your organization.  Instead of delegating to a project manager thinking, “We’ll give Lean a try,” you need to be standing in front saying, “We will make Lean work.”  After all, what is more pressing than bringing more value to your customers while making your operation more effective?

Best regards,

Chris Paulsen
Lean Leadership Blog
Written for


Please check out my Facebook page and continue the discussion there too.

Please leave a comment below if you liked this article. You can also connect on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, subscribe via e-mail (right side bar), retweet, digg, or stumble this article. Your feedback is appreciated.

About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
This entry was posted in Lean Manufacturing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Get On Board!

  1. Gerhard W.Kessler says:

    well………this all sounds good and is important…….but suddenly quarter end is coming and everything is more important than a Kaizen-Workshop for the floor people and 20 $ are missing for a pot of ink for finishing the 5-S process in a dedicated section.
    This is really when Lean fails…….! Especially with SME

    • Yes, the voice of experience…..You are absolutely right. There are certainly going to be distractions and other issues that need to be handled. My hope is that my continuing to bang the drum, Lean practitioners & thinkers like you & I can help others keep their eye on the ball most of the time. It’s doubtful that any organization could make it through a Lean transformation without having to reschedule an event or two. I tell people that this is a reality but it should be a big deal when it happens. When rescheduling and de-prioritizing becomes routine, the results won’t be there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s