My leadership training workshops help leaders learn the most important concepts of being effective. More and more leaders are feeling the pressure to create organizations with the skills to intuitively react. Collaboration, creativity, and learning are the foundations for enriching the endurance of organizations. Here is what the best leaders must know to stay competitive.
Toyota is credited with starting Lean Production through its own production system. “Lean” actually dates back to the 16th century. King Henry III of France, in 1570, was left watching in amazement at how the Venice Arsenal was able to build galley ships, using a continuous flow process, in less than one hour. This means that, “lean” being a conceptual idea, has been around for hundreds of years.
There are many other companies that have managed to take the Toyota Production System much further. Such companies found themselves noticing an immediate decrease in wastes and a dramatic increase in productivity, quality, and safety awareness. The efforts of such companies led to the development of what is now known as Lean Six Sigma. Six Sigma is simply a definition of quality in degrees of “sigma”. Six is the highest degree and is defined as having no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
There are three separate views of lean and they are:
- Structural change — where one of Lean is what is referred to as a 5S workplace
5S almost always have to do with safety in the workplace, productivity, quality, and operator morale. The 5 S’s stand for sort, straighten, sweep, standardize, and sustain.
- Process implementation – Lean endeavors to seek out wastes that inhibit the process to manufacture goods, provide services, or complete tasks.
- Philosophical mindset – the objective a lean enterprise is to encourage total involvement by employees and creativity, on the principles or employee empowerment.
Lean leadership means commitment. It is commitment to making changes for the better, commitment to workers or employees, and commitment to the system. In order to make a lean environment, leaders need to possess verbal communication skills, as well as listening skills so that they can understand the problems that workers may be facing. This is important as it will allow the leader to make the needed changes in order to easily identify where waste is found and how to eliminate it or reduce it. Lean leadership is aimed more at working with employees rather than having employees work for the leader.
The commitment towards employees is the highest commitment when it comes to lean leadership. Whatever the company, its biggest asset is its workers and listening to them is crucial. Workers must be given the right tools and skills to perform their respective jobs efficiently and correctly. Lean leaders need to pay attention to any suggestions made by employees. As workers are dealing with issues in their everyday tasks, they may have some creative and innovative ideas on how to make things better or how to solve some problems.
Lean leadership also requires leaders to remain committed to moving forward even when there are many obstacles. A lean leader needs to keep their people on course even when workers may begin to doubt the system or lose interest. It is up to the lean leader to constantly remind employees of the bigger picture. Lean leadership is very important and must always be a consistent way of helping others be their best and keeping your organization strong and competitive.
Thanks so much for taking time to visit PaulGerhardt.com
If you liked this article, please like it on Facebook and share it with others.
Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt, PhD
The Organizational Doctor TM
Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt. All rights reserved.