Developing Your Lean Game Plan

Last week I talked about developing a future state Value Stream Map.  After you have developed what you want the organization to look like in the future, now comes the hard work of moving toward that future state.  That calls for developing your Lean Game Plan.

I believe there is a simple way to ensure you will have a successful Lean Innovation- one that involves true culture change.  This entails developing your own Lean Game Plan one quarter at a time.  To keep it simple, focus on four steps in your Lean Game Plan.


1. Define your championship (Vision)

The first step is for leadership to agree upon what the True North is for the organization. This translates into a Lean Management System.  It’s important that they agree upon a few Key Performance Indicators that measure the performance of the business.

I had a client whose mantra was to measure what matters.  They went from measuring thirty KPI’s to about six.  Guess what?  They gained much more clarity in their business decision making and they made rapid gains in a short period of time.

Establish a Lean Game Plan that includes Lean activities scheduled a quarter at a time.

2.  Employee training camps

This should go without saying, but I’ve seen many organizations skip this step or try to take shortcuts. It is important to train everyone in the organization on basic lean concepts.  You aren’t trying to make them experts but expose them to Lean concepts.  This helps provides a background they can rely on when they participate in RIE’s.

3.  Follow the Lean Game Plan

Using Value Stream Mapping as your backbone, identify waste in your processes. Focus on removing the waste using Rapid Improvement Events or Kaizen.  Schedule the events a quarter at a time and make sure that they occur.

Ensure teams have a report-out after every event.  Video the report-out in case members of leadership can’t attend in person.  They can watch the recording and provide positive feedback to the participants after the report out.  That feedback is a key ingredient to generating employee engagement and culture change.

4.  Half time adjustments

Review your RIE library quarterly. After you have been conducting RIE’s for a while, you will develop a library of events that have been completed.

Have a monthly meeting to review the events, formally close events and ensure you are sustaining the gains.  If you are not seeing improvement to your KPI’s after two quarters, don’t be afraid to make changes.  Sports teams often make half-time course corrections and you should do the same!

After you develop your Lean Game Plan, post it in your Lean Promotion Office for everyone to refer to.  Socialize it through your internal communications- newspaper, intranet, whatever you use to share information.  It becomes your roadmap for this quarter for everyone to follow!


The organizations that I have coached over the years that adopt this simple framework have better results compared to organizations that don’t.

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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