It’s possible no one told you, so just in case I want to be the first one to say:
When you set out to practice lean, you’re asking employees for a lot.
It is no small thing to become lean. It would be a much smaller thing if all it represented was changing processes. But it’s much more than that.
Lean changes people.
That’s why you’re asking employees for a lot when you set out to become a lean organization.
The transformation that counts has less to do with systems and processes and more to do with transforming people on three dimensions, which I like to call the three H’s.
The 3 H’s of Employee Transformation
- The head
- The heart
- The hands
In Defense of the 3H Model
“Culture” can be defined as the shared beliefs, values, and behaviors of a group of people. Therefore, if you can change those three things you can change culture itself. This directly translates into our 3 H’s.
- Changing Beliefs. Beliefs are changed by changing how people think. This translates into transformation of employees’ heads. Until they think differently about waste and flow, productivity and value, etc. their belief system remains the same.
- Changing Values. Values are changed by changing how people feel about their world. This translates into transformation of employees’ hearts. Until they feel differently about Lean, change, new practices, new habits, etc. their value system remains the same.
- Changing Behaviors. Behaviors are changed by changing what people do. This has to do with action, which is captured in the idea of transforming employees’ hands. Until they behave differently at work it’s hard to say that the culture itself has changed.
Results ultimately come from changing behavior, but don’t let that mislead you into overlooking the role of the head and the heart in cultural transformation.
You can demand as much as you want from employees’ hands, but if you don’t have their heads and their hearts it won’t last.
This is why lean asks for a lot out of employees. If you’re struggling on your lean journey, it could very well be that you’re actually not asking for enough, or you’re asking for the wrong things.
- Ask for these things: more of employees’ heads, hearts, and hands.
- Don’t ask for these things: hands, hands, hands, or nothing at all.
Lean isn’t about squeezing productivity out of employee’s hands. Please check your motives or look somewhere else if that’s what you’re after.
Here’s What To Do To Transform All 3 Dimensions
If you’re serious about taking employees seriously and asking them for the 3H’s, do these two things:
- Involve everyone,
- Every day.
It’s that simple. This simple phrase, “everyone, every day,” is at the very heart of Lean. Set yourself out on the right foot by considering it at every turn.
If you want to know HOW to involve everyone, every day, check out the following: 4 Ways to Involve Everyone Every Day