One of the interesting challenges to delivering lean transformations is that it can be perceived as a solution looking for an answer. It can be common to be confronted by people who think that we see lean as a solution to everything. But everything we do is a process and lean can make any process better – right???
For sure there are plenty of Lean zealots out there who are totally committed to that statement. People who live and breathe Lean as a way of life, always looking to make a difference and always looking for opportunities to make things better. I share much with these individuals and have no criticism whatsoever of their view.
For me there is one significant difference though. I use Lean methodology only because I know of nothing better to use. I have studied and practiced Lean transformation for 20 years now and still consider myself a junior in this field – so much to learn – but I have seen just how difficult Lean is to implement well.
To try is a challenging and amazing journey for any business, even getting part of the way there can be hugely rewarding. I love this part, helping people to see waste and engage in its removal, generating returns and converting those gains into new potential. I know of nothing more engaging and more likely to build the right environment for the future of your business than Lean. I’ve been party to all sorts of other efforts over the years and nothing has come close in my experience to delivering improvement in such a strong way.
But it is hard to do! It takes vision, leadership, commitment, perseverance and a good dose of humility to get anywhere. It takes yet more of those elements to sustain the rate of improvement and along the way they are all tested. But how rewarding is it to build a lean organisation? – performing better every day with engaged staff and people who want to contribute - it’s amazing to do that!!! I owe a lot to Lean, I see the world differently, I behave differently – it has certainly shaped who I am.
But if I thought for minute that there was an approach out there that was easier to implement than lean at achieving all of those elements would I stop doing Lean – in a heartbeat, Yes I would!!!
Until that day, I intend to continue to use Lean Transformation as our method and enjoy the implementation (ups and downs included) with people who need help to do it.