Very good question. Here are some thoughts for posting
How Do I Start with Lean?
I’d suggest you begin by asking the most basic & difficult question:
“What problem are we trying to solve?”
Growth? Profitability? Throughput? Quality? Safety?
What are possible causes?
Malignant market forces? Core technologies at risk of becoming obsolete?
Empty new product pipeline?
Decaying factories? Apathetic, stagnant or hostile work force?
Dysfunctional mental models?
You can begin your analysis with analytical tools, but please, get out of
your office and confirm your analysis by seeing root causes with your own
Thereby, you’ll begin to develop a deeper understanding the chessboard, and
of root causes and possible countermeasures.
Lean comprises an interconnected set of methodologies supported by a rich,
an often paradoxical, “Thinking Way”.
Lean may well be an excellent approach to dealing with your ‘mess’, but it’s
not to be entered into lightly.
If the organization isn’t serious, it may be better not to embark on the
Ideally, the senior leadership team and Board are fully aligned behind the
How to achieve such alignment?
Here I defer to our friend and colleague, Art Byrne, and his splendid book,
The Lean Turnaround.
What if the ideal level of support is lacking? This is where things get
There should, in my view, be at least two or three respected senior
champions who will support a Lean pilot in a major division.
An experiment, if you will, with the understanding that, if things go well,
the organization will broaden & deepen the work.
Senior leaders must also commit to Lean education concurrent with the pilot,
so they can get a basic understanding of the thinking and practices
informing the pilot zone.
If the organization meets this basic test, you’re probably good to go to the
question of Strategy Deployment:
How will we deploy Lean in the pilot zone so as to achieve our Purpose?
Trust that helps,