It appears the most common cause of lean-initiative failures is the lack of senior-leadership support and commitment. Are senior management leaders truly disbelieving the benefits of lean or are the reasons proposed by the advocates not persuasive enough? Some of the common roadblocks I’ve heard discussed are:
- Return on investment (ROI) – senior leaders do not fully see the short-term and long-term benefits of a lean initiative. Do they understand that lean is not merely a tool for quarterly or yearly gains?
- Lean is a specific “project” -- Lean improvement tasks can be delegated to particular persons within the company to fix certain areas. Do leaders fully grasp that lean is a cultural transformation not a process technique?
- Compliance not commitment – senior managers do not impede the initiative, but they do not outwardly lead it or actively participate in its implementation. If senior leadership appears reticent, does this attitude also dissuade engagement by operators and frontline staff?
What are some other reasons for senior leadership’s lack of support? Are advocates making ineffective and incorrect “sales pitches”? Please share your experiences and suggestions.