Lean Principles for Complex Times (Part 3)

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Lean Manufacturing Learning Center. Image courtesy Rory Wallwork via Wikipedia

Many people are finding the business world to be more fierce and competitive than ever.  This can be true even for those who are doing a good job of sticking to their Lean Leadership ideals.  This is the third and final installment of  a series based on Tony Schwartz’ blog titled Ten Principles to Live By in Fiercely Complex Times.  You can see the first of the series here if you care to start at the beginning.

So far we have seen that Lean Leaders challenge the process.  Lean Leaders are relentless about pursuing excellence and enjoy the journey.  Lean Leaders know that their attitude is contagious and set a good example.  Lean Leaders are always learning.  Let’s continue the discussion with the last four points:

  • You need less than you think you do – more is better, right?  Tony Schwartz points out that the more is better mentality is a sure way to be disappointed in life.  He suggests asking what you can do without and being content with less.  I agree with this message completely. There is also a Lean application that is similar yet quite different from Mr. Schwartz’ message.  You will often times need less than you think you do when problem solving at work.  Low cost solutions are generally better than high cost solutions.  Not only do they cost less but they are often approved more quickly.  They can also be easier to quicker and easier implement.
  • Meaning isn’t something you discover, you create it one step at a time –  there is no silver bullet in the Lean world.  It’s a journey on the path to excellence.  You won’t be able to solve all of the issues at your site today or this week, but you can make a difference today.  Take the journey one step at a time.
  • You can’t change what you don’t notice & ignoring it won’t make it go away – get out of your office or cubicle and see what is going on in your value stream or process.  Look for waste and inefficiencies so you and your team can solve them.
  • When in doubt, take responsibility – Lean Leaders have a bias for action.  This is not to say that you should do something that someone else clearly should be doing.  Nor is this saying to take on more than is reasonable.  This is saying to take the lead when you can.  Lean Leaders make a difference.  If you don’t, who will?

Best regards,                                                                                                                         Christian Paulsen                                                                                                                           Lean Leadership Blog                                                                                                            Written for  The Consumer Goods Club

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You can see part 1 of the series Lean Principles for Complex Times here and part 2 here.  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.  You can check out my Facebook page and continue the discussion there as well.  Your feedback is appreciated.

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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)
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