What does it mean to be a Lean Leader?

Being a lean leader is a rewarding job.  You get to work with people and see the immediate payoff of making small incremental improvements everyday.  However, it can also be frustrating at times.  Our work environments are becoming more and more complex.   Processes require people and people have problems.  Problems like increasing complexity in their jobs.  People naturally make mistakes. Then there is the law of entropy, law of entropy says that processes naturally become less and less efficient over time.  Building a culture of continuous improvement is a never ending quest.  There is no finish line for the lean leader, there is always room for improvement in our quest for perfection (which is unobtainable by the way).  Although, each day we can get a little bit closer.

The lean leader is responsible for continuous improvement of the people, purpose, and process.

The People

  • Effectively collaborates cross-functionally across the organization and supply chain
  • Encourage people to expose problems and stays with them to implement true solutions
  • Uses continuous coaching and dialogue to empower people to solve their own problems
  • Builds future lean managers and leaders
  • Supports organizational learning

The Purpose

  • Creates and delivers customer value at the lowest-possible total cost
  • Creates flow through the entire value stream through cross-functional collaboration
  • Develops a problem-solving culture where problems are identified and fixed at the root cause
  • Engages in relentless pursuit of continuous improvement
  • Ensures that the company takes a long-term view, yet is sensitive to the need for immediate actions and waste reduction
  • Creates the learning organization inside the company

The Process

  • Understands how to articulate the implications of an action or choice (systems impact) throughout the entire value stream
  • Goes to the worksite to understand and solve problems at the root cause
  • Knows not to complacent with current processes
  • Teaches fundamental problem solving (PDCA) to find problems, define them, fix them, and kepp them from coming back
  • Creates a formal, effective process for sharing best practices