A recent article over on the ThomasNet news site, authored by David R. Butcher, confirms what a lot of Lean champions have been declaring for many years -- Behavior profoundly changes an organization, not tools.
Capgemini Consulting recently released a report titled Lean for the Long Haul, which surveyed more than 150 executives responsible for leading Lean initiatives, and concluded that behavioral changes are what sustain an effective Lean transformation. What ultimately derails the Lean journey? Resistance to change and a lack of focus/commitment.
Placing a strong emphasis on the implementation of tools and the deployment of specific techniques does have a galvanizing effect as they do get all associates involved and encourage enthusiasm. In addition, tangible results are immediately revealed through waste-reduction efforts. After a year or so, however, sustainability becomes a major issue if routine "Lean doing" supersedes "Lean thinking." Without behavioral change, the initiative will ultimately wither.
Lean initiatives that survive the in the long term focus on:
- Strategic Alignment.
- Performance Management.
Has any readers of this blog ever been involved in a Lean initiative that has hit the "plateau" stage because some of the crucial Lean thinkers failed to create the correct culture and have moved on after instituting only the effective techniques?