At the start of any new lean implementation, there are two essential things we’re trying to establish: credibility and results. And if you’re not getting both of them, you’re likely not enjoying success with lean.
Credibility is critical for lean to take on a life of its own—it’s all about gaining employee buy-in and commitment.
After all, at Lean Smarts we widely promote that the power of lean is in the culture it creates. Sure, the tools and tricks are powerful for any organization, but you can’t underestimate the greater power of a community of people who are fully behind the idea of continuous improvement.
And to do that, you need to establish credibility, and fast!
So it’s important that you start lean off on the right foot and gain credibility—that is, the respect, confidence, and belief of employees.
A fantastic way to gain credibility early on is to get early results. Of course, results are what an organization is after anyway.
A Secret to Fast Results and Instant Credibility
There’s a secret to getting you what you want quickly and it’s to create a model.
With this strategy, rather than tackling everything at once you limit your efforts to a specific area.
This smaller focus allows for you to make changes rapidly. More importantly, it allows you to learn from mistakes faster and with fewer consequences.
In little time you can create a standard of what lean looks like in a limited area of your organization. Then this area becomes a living model for others to witness and understand.
The accelerated learning of “show-and-tell ” from this model will allow others to catch the vision quickly and roll out continuous improvement elsewhere with greater velocity.
We’ve already covered some benefits of a model, but let’s summarize them here:
Benefits of Using a Model
- The limited focus allows you to get results faster.
- The quick results give credibility to lean.
- The living model accelerates training.
- The shared vision that follows training allows you to expand lean more rapidly.
A Case Study
When I became the manager of a newly-acquired medical device manufacturing division I had a lot in my plate to accomplish.
We were grossly out of compliance with regulation, had very immature or nonexistent processes, and a team that was uneducated in lean and the requirements of regulation.
I found a way forward by creating a model.
Rather than attacking all our products at once to bring them up to standard, I focused on just one.
I involved myself very deeply and created an example of all that was required for compliance and lean standards.
When I was done, it was easy to immediately explain what my expectations were to my employees—they had an example of the future right there in front of them.
By just looking at the model I had created, they were capable of expanding my efforts everywhere else throughout the organization.
The model gave my expectations credibility with my employees, and results followed rapidly.