You can’t get very far with lean if your culture isn’t one of “respect for people.”
One way or another, you must develop this respect. It starts with you, especially if you are in leadership.
Until real respect is demonstrated in an organization, the typical “us vs. them,” finger-pointing, complaining, etc. will prevail. And this is deadly for a start-up lean culture.
This respect is so important, it is probably why Paul Akers says “lean starts in the bathroom.” It is the proving ground for leadership to demonstrate real respect, and for coworkers to prove out their maturity and respect for one another.
At the Lean Donut Shop, we did not have a bathroom we could clean every day. But we did have to clean our stall regularly.
When the storefront was first opened, our (Daniel’s and Laura’s) attitude was simply that it needed to get done.
You could have found us on our hands-and-knees at times scrubbing the floor. It didn’t matter that we were “the owners.”
It wasn’t until later that I realized just how important this was for our team to respect us and each other…