A Lean implementation in your business: let’s continue the journey

A Lean implementation in your business: let’s continue the journey


Now that you understand why a Lean Implementation will benefit your business, how will you take action? 


We began this article in part 1 here. If you have not seen it we suggest you take a moment and have a read! There is a link to this second part at the bottom of part 1. 

Lean is an attitude with a toolbox

Lean will enable you to be prepared for the downswing in business that will come. Lean will enable you to stay ahead of your competition.

But as a Lean Leader, you need to get out of your own way:

  • Stop being the expert in the business
  • Start seeing the team’s perspective
  • Stop ignoring social and programming issues

But being a good Leader is hard  

Despite knowing all of this, this doesn’t fix the issues in a business. It’s knowing how to apply the knowledge that will address the issues. It is knowing where people need help and support. And of course, why.

As a Lean Leader you will:

  • Understand the urgency to change the way you operate
  • Identify your business’ critical issues
  • Effectively encourage contributions from your team
  • Successfully assign tasks and monitor their progress
  • Provide effective coaching
  • Constructively review and reflect on the implementation

And consider this: is it actually ok to fail in your business?

When was the last time someone was rewarded for failing in your business? When was the last time we went into the workplace and stopped to fix? 

If you don’t know the answer to this question, or the answer is “It’s not ok to fail”, then consider Lean as an opportunity for growth. Growth in your team. Growth in efficiency. Growth in the satisfaction of your customers.

Growth in revenue.



So when can I expect to see results? 

Early wins are important, but remember, Lean is a journey. It’s not a destination or a magic bullet. 

However, the longevity of the process will ensure you will learn a lot about your business and yourself. And you’ll come to understand that much unlearning is required.

Again: don’t be the technical expert. 

Your Lean implementation will have you experience quick wins. It will be these wins that will help you to unlearn a lot of destructive behaviours you’ve been showing your business. 

Let’s rephrase that question. “What will I see of immediate value when implementing Lean?”

Let’s consider a number of simple behaviours that will help you to answer this. These three things will deliver immediate value to your business: 

  • Document what you want to deliver (just for yourself). Develop your understanding of where your time is going and assign value to the items. They need to be deliverables. Ideally, everything you do should be value-adding. 
  • Ask the 5 Whys. Reflect and be curious, and establish the real root cause. This will reduce the number of rules and instructions (standardised work procedures) in your business.  
  • Remove the monkey on your back. Delegate back down. Probe your team for the answers to the challenges in the business. Give your team the authority to solve the problems and the authorisation to fail. Don’t be your team’s crutch and stop them from excelling in their role. 

These things are easy to say, but really hard to do

So let’s wrap this introduction to why you should consider a Lean Implementation with more tips for your success.

Create a sense of urgency. This is crucial to the success of your Lean implementation. Create a common language and speak openly about Lean. Articulate the business plan and objectives. Share knowledge, and with it, power.

Form a powerful coalition within your business. Have the right people involved in your business. Take a frontline approach.

Ensure your vision for change is SMART: specific, measurable, actionable, resourced and time driven. Communicate your vision.

Remove obstacles to success (that includes you- get out of the way!). Take advantage of your biggest dissenter and implore them to point out the issues in the business. Remove the roadblocks that stop your team from being awesome.

Create short term wins to drive your team’s motivation. Then reflect and build on the wins to drive further change. Provide recognition for the good and acknowledge the bad. Keep this in balance.

Finally, make your Lean operation the new norm. Anchor your changes in corporate culture through symbolism and behaviour in the immediate environment. Ensure these communications tell team members they are valued and listened to.


Want to know more? 

Book a discussion to see how we can help.

Check out our programs here.

Take a look at our profile of Chris Goddard, who provided the big ideas and inspiration for this article. Chris resides in New Zealand and helps businesses all over New Zealand and Australia.

Watch this conversation take place on YouTube.

Leadership – Part 1

I wanted to share with you my thoughts in relation to Lean and Kaizen, and I hope that my point of view is something that you might be able to make use of and perhaps apply at your workplace. So I wanted to talk about leadership, in the Lean and Kaizen environment, and just a…

Read More

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