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Management Capacity

Applying Lean to Free Up Management Time

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Creating Standard Leadership Roles for the Lean Supervisor


Transforming an organization at any time is challenging for staff at all levels. The toughest challenge may be with Middle Management. Change of any sort requires effort and constant focus from all levels especially middle management.

Leadership tend to understand the fact that middle management is operating in a stressed out environment and the idea of implementing and/or accepting any further changes sounds great but they (middle management) have no time to focus on it.    So leadership needs to recognize that when they decide on implementing organizational changes, or directional/strategic change, to make their organizations more competitive and increase their client satisfaction, they must deal with the fact that it’s going to take a commitment of time by the middle management. If middle management is already working at 100% capacity, then some activities that middle management is presently responsible for will need to be eliminated in order to free up time for supporting the corporate vision/direction as well as performing the expected day-to-day activities such as firefighting, staff and client demands plus continuous improvement and training/coaching.

Middle management fills their day with fighting fires, running to meetings, correspondence from above and below while making sure the product/service is going out to the clients.  Meanwhile, they are being told to cut costs, improve quality and speed of service.  They are already extremely stressed and mentally don’t need any added pressures.   They have little idea how to truly prioritize tasks as they are sent new ones regularly and every priority is given high priority.

This type of situation is common in most organizations and is not anyone’s fault.  The solution is to adapt and apply the similar concepts and thinking of Lean to the roles of middle management.  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.  The Standard Leadership Roles are also routines that decrease stress levels and allow managers to work at an optimum level of energy without tiring themselves out.

If Leadership truly wants success, then they must support their management teams and reenergize their tremendous passion and commitment to corporate priorities and vision.  To successfully accomplish this goal, the Leadership must step back and give middle management the ability, knowledge and tools needed to allow them to properly assess and transform their current roles using the concepts of Lean.   This program will give a structured step by step method of ‘how’ to create more time for middle management while increasing the time spent on ‘value’ activities.


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