Transforming an organization using the concepts and thinking of Lean is a challenge and requires tremendous passion, commitment, proper knowledge and the ability to execute the vision and plan. Leadership usually understand all that but what they miss is “how and who” element that is going to lead the change and do the actual transforming.
They tend to overlook the fact that middle management is already operating in a stressed to the limit environment and the idea of implementing Lean sounds great but they have limited time to focus on it. Lean is no different than any other major change, it requires continuous effort from all levels-especially middle management. So leadership needs to recognize that when they decide to implement Lean to make their organizations more competitive and increase their client satisfaction, they must deal with the fact this is going to take a commitment of time by the middle management. And if the middle management is already working at 100%, then common sense says some activities the middle management is presently doing will have to be eliminated from their duties to free up time for continuous improvement and training/coaching.
Middle management fills their day, fighting fires, running to meetings, answering communication from above and below while making sure the product/service is going out to the clients. They do all this, and all the while they are being told to cut costs, improve quality and speed of service. Add to those pressures, the fact that they have little idea what the priorities should be, quite often it appears they are sent new ones regularly and each one of the priorities is “high priority”.
This type of situation is common in most organizations. The solution is to adapt and apply the similar concepts and thinking of Lean to the roles of middle management.
Lean Advisors can help…. Once we understand the executive priorities and analyze the middle management activities we can then begin to develop Standard Leadership Roles which will allow managers more time to do activities such as training, coaching, continuous improvement etc. that support and drive the strategy of the corporation. These Standard Leadership Roles will take the stress level down and allow the middle managers to work at an optimum level. To learn more about how we can help your organization, contact us.