Undertaking a business transformation is difficult. After all, who are the only people who like change? Wet babies. Depending upon where you start, it can take a lot of heavy lifting from many people in the organization. It’s easy to get caught up conducting “activities” on a weekly or monthly basis, which is why it’s important to slow down, reflect, and be grateful during your Lean journey.
Henry Ford recognized the value of bringing people together to accomplish work and make improvements so a business could last multiple generations. He realized the opportunity to work together, really work together toward a common True North was a success. Does your company have that same mindset?
Here are a few tips so your company can be grateful during your Lean journey.
1. Realize it’s not a set of tools
Many people think that undertaking a Lean business transformation is deploying a set of tools. I used to be that way as well. I was lucky enough to be part of a large Lean transformation in the late 1980s when I was a college student at the University of Cincinnati and co-oping at Huffy bicycle.
At the time, we didn’t understand how a successful Lean transformation hinged on engaging employees and generating excitement in the organization. It wasn’t until I studied more, learned more consulting with companies, and saw greater benefits from getting everyone engaged that it clicked. Benefit from my experience, Lean implementations should focus on activating and engaging your workforce to make your company better.
2. Support their efforts
When you engage employees by having them take part in training, value stream mapping, and Rapid Improvement Events, make sure they have a report out at the end of the activity. Ensure that leaders in the organization are there to watch the report out.
Nothing will kill employee engagement quicker than presenting to an empty room. If leaders say the business transformation is important, then show up and support the hard work your employees have done during the 3-5 days of the Rapid Improvement Event.
3. Thank them
Now that you have shown up for the report out, thank the employees for their hard work. Realize they aren’t expert public speakers and it takes a lot of courage to stand in front of their leaders and present what they did.
Make sure the leadership team gives them huge congratulations and encouragement. Thank each participant individually if you can. Let them know how grateful you are for making the company better. Realize they your most powerful resource for building a successful company.
I know if you follow these three steps you will be grateful during your Lean journey.
As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!
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