It has become evident that many companies who have implemented LEAN manufacturing principles across the board are failing, and failing miserably at that. Organisations are too quick out of the blocks and concentrate on implementing the lean tools without first understanding the real purpose behind it. There are an abundance of pitfalls on the way but getting the right leadership teams in place is one of the fundamental elements which is more often than not overlooked. Organisations need to get the right leadership in place in order for a successful LEAN journey to blossom.
Changing the mindset of employees (which is critical) can only be done through passionate leadership. One Leader is not enough for the process to be cemented; it needs as many passionate lean leaders as possible to drive the change in mindset of employees. At every possible opportunity, the benefits of lean must be communicated clearly to all, and not just at surface level. The work ethic of “it’s good to try, and it’s good to fail, as long as you learn from it” needs to be instilled from the leaders, as well as clear reward schemes.
A true leader is not only a role model in the work they do (i.e. never sweep problems under the carpet) but they understand the emotional feelings of the employees, are able to recognise and act quickly. Leaders have the ability to gain trust and this is the ingredient needed by them to create change.
A successful lean leader may not be the most technically experienced or the most energetic employee. Passion, attitude and the ability to gain trust from employees across all the levels are characteristics vital to implementing lean. Once you have a leader on board or have identified a potential leader, it is essential for the right level of support from above, rewards schemes and plenty of opportunity for them to spread their wings.
For more information on Lean Principles please take a look at our other articles.
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