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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Lean creates disruption as it challenges the status quo

By Samuel Obara, - Last updated: Friday, July 4, 2014 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

I think the answer to this short question will be a very long list of items
to do or to stop doing.

But at the same time, I believe we should be very cautious to make such a
list past item #1.
Item #1 in my view would be to perform a diligent genba assessment, finding
then the causes and the root causes for the current situation.
Only after item #1 has been concluded, we can continue the list. Perhaps
the immediate next items will include raising awareness, or creating a
burning platform, or bringing in a lean sensei (or psychologist or coach or
etc.).

Having said that, assuming the CEO is doing the right things right, and
still getting “all” stakeholders angry, then those stakeholders are not
understanding what is taking place:

<> Shareholders in public companies are sometimes unhappy with lean as they
can’t see past quarterly results. Wherever results become more important
than processes, we narrow our vision.
<> Union in traditional companies gets upset when they see their affiliates
doing “more” work, that they were not hired for. And lean forces all to
constantly transcend job descriptions.
<> Managers going through lean transformation get frustrated as they see an
enormous amount of new work, sense of urgency, accountability metrics,
periodic follow ups, instant problem solving, and other things they never
had to do before.
<> Employees are sometimes angry as they can’t understand why you are taking
away his idle minutes from his cycle time, labeling that waste of waiting,
and then filling that time with value adding work. Very little time left
now for sitting, chatting, looking at the walls.

I guess all stakeholders get angry now because of the disruption lean is
bringing to their organization. Imagine how angry they would be if the
company didn’t survive and they are the ones disrupting their family plans
and jeopardizing everyone’s future.

I think that the to do list will have quite a few items, but they will all
come only after item #1 has been concluded: a genba assessment.

Happy 4th to all!
Sammy

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