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Jeff Liker

Dan Jones: Lean has to be “win-win-win”

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

There is no doubt that employees very much prefer to work in a lean organisation. When you hear them say “we would never want to go back to the old ways” you know that at least this part of the organisation is serious about lean. If lean is misused as a fig leaf for crude cost cutting you know it will go backwards in a hurry – it is difficult to misuse lean for long.

But that does not mean that employee involvement is all there is to lean – or that it is all plain sailing – far from it. To work lean has to be a real “win-win-win” for employees, customers and the organisation. It is about helping every employee to learn to use the scientific, evidence based method to remove the obstacles and frustrations that prevent them from doing their jobs well. It is about managers focusing everyone’s effort on streamlining and integrating the flow of work to deliver superior service to customers. And as a result creating a profitable and sustainable future for the organisation.

If every employee knows what the objectives are and are enabled to take the right actions then they can achieve individual breakthroughs and extraordinary results they will be proud of and that their competitors will struggle to match. Seeing the results is the only real way to ensure lean will continue to grow. The real challenge to making lean work is not with front line staff but with managers reluctant to give up old ways of thinking and working.

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