Q. How do we achieve support at all levels (Leadership, Middle
Management and Staff) – Initially and Ongoing? And how do you
deal with skeptics, naysayers and silent passive resistors?
Here are some of the consolidated thoughts and ideas that were shared by the participants of the Lean Executive Day workshop on Achieving and Maintaining Support for Lean.
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1. Create a formal change management plan
Create a small lean promotion office to build the change plan. Develop an individualized plan to get key stakeholders up the learning curve (understanding what drives their individual attention). Develop and implement a staged communication plan with all staff –
involve corporate communications (in large organizations) right away and if you don’t have a communications group, you become the communications person with ongoing regular updates and visuals of successes. Define early the metrics that will be used and make them visible. Put to bed right away the notion of job loss due to lean – it is about
freeing up time for staff to provide value by eliminating non-value. Be transparent and up front with unions from the start. Meet with hem as soon as possible. Give value stream leaders team training so they know how to bring their improvement teams up the forming-storming- norming performing curve. Use internal newsletters to highlight positive change.
2. Bring in expert knowledge
Choose wisely, not all consulting companies have proven expertise and
experience. Many so called experts are really point improvement and tool
specialists. Lean is a cultural and technical transformation – it is a rethink of how you act in your company and
provides a consistent focus on clients and value. Tools and point
improvements will only make the consultants richer.
3. Create highly visible first improvements (or ‘model lines’)
Make sure these have energetic senior champions and tons of support to ensure success. Involve as many staff as possible in generating improvements. Make sure to use value stream mapping to create end-to-end improvements rather than point improvements. Don’t leave improvements and move on before sustaining aids have been put in place (examples: standard work, play cards, training developed, checklists, etc.)
4. Involve everyone as much as its practical There will be more support if people feel they are part of the process. Let resistors have their say, and listen to their concerns. Often the biggest nay-sayers completely turnaround if they have participated and feel they have been heard Make sure to spend time explaining why some ideas have not been adopted – this ensures you do not turn off the flow of ideas. Challenge everyone to start thinking about future improvements but
let them know that you have a solid structure for change that must be
5. Ensure lean behaviors are part of scorecard and performance plans
Reward people for the right lean behaviors. Do not penalize intelligent failures that led to good learning experience. Conduct regular reviews to make sure things are moving along.
6. Position a few very enthusiastic champions strategically throughout the
Do not forget functional groups like HR and Finance – the support
functions are critical to expanding the markets, growing the business
and repositioning staff.