Lean requires commitment. It is easy to have that dedication when the philosophy has proven itself in the organization. But when the culture of continuous improvement is in its infancy, it is easy to lose one’s way. A common challenge that leaders have is resisting the urge to abandon a process when things are not perfect.
Lean leaders abandon process improvement when the road gets bumpy.
How this affects you
It is discouraging and confusing to see a continuous improvement leader cast the Lean method aside when setbacks are encountered.
The principles of Lean are hard to support if they are only followed sporadically by those above you in the company. Watching your boss bend or ignore rules can inspire anger and resentment. You probably don’t think it is fair that you have to consistently follow Lean policy, but your leaders don’t.
Action to take
The boss tells you to expedite a customer order, disregarding a standard process, or he tells you to stop using the andon light because the response team is complaining about the frequency of its use.
If your manager asks you to do something non-Lean once new practices have been established in your area, confirm that the boss is asking you to set the policy aside in this situation. Obviously, you have to know the rules to recognize when something slips outside the proper routine.
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Why this works
The Why this Works section is only available in print copies of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?.