Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
Archives by Tag 'ceo'
Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: The CEO must remove all barriers to lean, and some barriers are people. If one person must leave the company, do so with respect

By Orry Fiume, - Last updated: Friday, August 1, 2014
The problem that you cite is a common one. Below is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for the Journal for Organizational Excellence a few years ago. The at the beginning of the article explains that Lean is a Strategy, not a manufacturing tactic or cost reduction program. This excerpt is the part of the article that discusses things the CEO must do to increase the likelihood of a successful transformation: Mandate Lean. Perhaps the most important Lean “intervention” by Wiremold’s CEO was to make it clear that opting out of the Lean strategy was not a choice ...

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Arthur Byrne

Art Byrne: If the CEO sees lean as a business strategy, he/she will involve sales from day one

By Arthur Byrne, - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
the answer to your question has to go deeper than just trying to explain “why lean has failed to capture the imagination of the sales team”. The issue isn’t so much sales but rather a lack of understanding of lean. If you think of lean as “some manufacturing thing”, and probably 95% of all companies and CEO’s view it this way then this should not be surprising. Heck, lean is most commonly called “lean manufacturing” so even manufacturing companies are confused about what lean really is. Lean is a business strategy. You can think of it as a time based ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: The company learns as long as the CEO learns at the gemba by supporting kaizen

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, July 22, 2012
The CEO of a construction company once told me that the day he was bored with the gemba, he’d better sell the firm. This, from a CEO who has more than quadrupled the value of his company in the past five years. This CEO has figured out that the company continues to learn as long as he continues to learn, and the gemba is where true fact-based learning happens. Senior management has a disproportionate impact on the firm because of its role modeling role. Chris Argyris, the influential organizational theorist that formulated “double-loop” learning pointed out the distinction between “espoused theory” ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean is a CEO practice to improve performance

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The first thing his sensei told my father when they started working together was that the great weakness of TPS was that it rested entirely on the plant managers. Years later, this statement turns out to be confirmed, time and time again. If there’s one thing we’ve learned is that lean is a practice – and well, a practice. I’ve been discussing this issue with other CEOs and one different way at looking at lean is that it is a personal practice for the CEO to have a direct influence on his or her company’s performance. This practice is based on, ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: How do you select the next CEO for continuity in excellence?

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The inability to maintain continuity with a firm's efforts around continuous improvement, operational excellence, and broad based product and process innovation has to be tied, in part at least, to poor succession planning and process. Be it the CEO or board, there must be some criteria of critical skills and capabilities that leadership candidates must posses to be deemed likely at success.  One couldn't imagine a contender who either lacked some demonstrated competency in finance, marketing, strategy and the like or who had no plan to acquire those competencies before taking over. Unfortunately, the skills relevant to achieving operational excellence are too ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Lean Has a Short Half-Life Without Intense Involvement Of The CEO

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Thursday, June 10, 2010
One thing we know about lean is that you learn it by doing it, not by sitting in the office.   With all of the different types of organizations I have worked with I must admit that it has been rare to go with the CEO to the gemba.   They have not participated in kaizen activities, our meetings are in offices and board rooms, and in other cases I personally never met the CEO.  For the most part our contacts have only gone as high as the vice president level (engineering, continuous improvement, quality, operations).   That is a problem.  We have ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: How do Lean practitioners connect with the CEO?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Building on Orrie's point, connecting with CEO means understanding upstream & downstream of the factory. Marketing, Design, Engineering, Order Fulfillment, Customer Service & the like. The CEO's gemba, and Value Streams, comprise all of these. How often do lean practitioners go see them? It's hard work, admittedly, to go see such gembas -- understand what we're seeing.   But if we don't, we'll suboptimize & CEO's will tune us out -- (rightly). A few small examples: In Marketing, Brand management would greatly benefit from the clarity & simplicity of Lean thinking. Marketing execs, for example, have found Strategy Deployment to be invaluable in aligning Design activity with emerging portfolio gaps. Moreover, Lean fundamentals like STW, visual management ...

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