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Jamie Flinchbaugh

Jamie Flinchbaugh: Understanding the impact of developing your people

By Jamie Flinchbaugh, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

The latest Lean Edge question is How do Lean organizations develop their employees if Lean considers expenditure of resources other than for creation of value to be wasteful?

First, a true lean organization isn’t obsessed with waste. If anything, they are obsessed with value.  Waste is anything more than the absolutely minimum required to add value to a product or service; waste is not just anything that doesn’t create value. I can’t imagine much value can be delivered without the right skills and capabilities in the organization. Therefore, I don’t think there is any conflict between developing employees and waste elimination.

Second, a lean organization thinks about the total system, and thinks long term. There is a constant pursuit of the knowledge between cause and effect. All of that means that there is a strong understanding of the performance impact (effect) of more talented and skilled people (cause).

Third, people think too narrowly about how they develop their people that they think it all must cost dollars, because it is all about training. I’m not suggesting that you should stop training; I’ve rarely seen an organization that is over-trained. What I’m suggesting is that the increase in developing people come from coaching and experimentation. These two sources of development are very powerful when done consistently and for the long-term.

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