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 'culture'
Karen Martin

Karen Martin: The rate of improvement dependends on the culture and maturity of the organization, leadership alignment around priorities, and workforce involvement rather than training being any type of constraint.

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Monday, March 25, 2013
Like Jeff, my question is whether you mean “work standards” or “standardized (standard) work.” I view them as two different animals. A standard might be, for example, that you always insert a needle with the bevel up. Or that you always apply X amount of torque to a bolt. Or that a legal document always includes a confidentiality clause. Standardized work, on the other hand, is the process by which work gets done. The sequence of activities. Standardized work may or may not include defined standards. “The best known way” could apply ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: The culture transformation through personal engagement is the only chance of success for a “lean transformation”

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013
The role of the KPO is to launch the lean understanding in the organization by piloting and proving concepts and then later supporting the pull from the rest of the leadership for support/mentoring. Ultimately the KPO is the source of all future leaders in the organization as part of the organizational development efforts. I strongly support the idea of all the KPO team members sourced from within the company and using external coaches to develop this team. Why? Because the internal people know the business best and the lean concepts are not difficult to learn from external coaches. Additionally, this dramatically reduces the cost of the lean start-up ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: Lean leaders spend the time developing the people with different knowledge, wisdom and experience to change and evolve the system and culture of the organization

By Jim Huntzinger, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
To carry forward the points Jeff makes about differentiating between a lean leader and a traditional leader, we can also look at this from a systems view.  As Dr. Liker aptly describes a traditional leader with all the adjectives that we are familiar with; and often, these types of leaders do make changes with very good results. The longer term issue is these types of leaders rarely make the deep system changes needed to sustain the high level results.  So as soon as they depart the organization so do the high level results.  The have not spent the time developing the ...

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Jeff Liker

Dan Jones: Creating a Kaizen Culture

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, July 26, 2010
In my experience a Kaizen culture is set by example, is enabled using a common method and language and is nurtured by recognising achievements, telling stories and building upon the resulting learning. In 1993 I was fortunate to be involved in creating what is still one of the best examples of a Kaizen culture at the Unipart Group of companies in the UK, who make and distribute automotive components. From the beginning the initiative has been led by the Chief Executive, who teaches regularly in the company university, reviews progress on the shop floor of their many operations and attends ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Act Your Way To A New Culture

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010
I always feel a little uncomfortable when a question begins with:  "How do you build a culture that does ____?"  As far as I know there is no lego set for building culture.  In the last chapter of our book Toyota Culture we quote Edgar Schein as saying: "Never start with the idea of changing your culture.  Always start with the issue the organization faces." Why would a leading cultural guru suggest we avoid changing culture?  I do not think he is saying culture does not matter or even that culture cannot change.  He is saying that culture is extremely difficult ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Define Success as Learning, and the Culture Will Follow

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010
Culture is largely about how you define success, and the acceptable means to obtain this success. Within lean programs, the issue of failure rarely comes up because we define success as learning, and failure and success are intimately linked in the process. What we do find, is that some people take to it quite naturally, while others adamantly refuse to learn, whatever the consequences. I was recently on the shop floor in an automotive supplier plant with the operations manager, the plant manager and the area manager. They’d been working with lean for a number of years and had implemented several ...

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Sebastian Fixson

Sebastian Fixson: How does an organization build the appropriate culture such that problems (failures, mistakes, …) are seen as opportunities for improvement of the organization rather than opportunities for individuals to lose face, their job, etc.?

By Sebastian Fixson, - Last updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010
The negative press that Toyota recently received in association with the recalls, made me think about an issue that on one hand seems to be central to lean, but on the other is very difficult for many organizations to actually do.  That is: confronting ‘problems.’  As earlier blog entries discussed, there are two ways of looking at something like Toyota’s plant closure announcement: (i) It simply is the extension of Toyota’s commitment to ‘stop the line’ when a problem is detected to find the root cause no matter how expensive, or (ii) the size of the expense for the plant ...

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Ed Schein: Toyota’s Safety Culture

By , - Last updated: Monday, March 15, 2010
I would be most interested to get reactions to the question:  "What   happened to Toyota?  Did they abandon safety or was safety never part of their culture?"
Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Making Improvement & Adaptiveness Part of Your Culture

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Saturday, February 20, 2010
Question:  Does lean ever become part of the culture? As implied in the question, the lean task is not just to introduce new techniques, principles or solutions, but to establish a culture of continuous improvement, adaptation and innovation. Here's how I see the culture-change issue at the moment: Changing the culture requires changing mindset. Edgar Schein defines organization culture as the set of shared basic assumptions that operate unconsciously and govern behavior.  I think of culture as the personality or character of the organization. Organization culture, in turn, develops out of people’s mindset, which is a subconscious, habitual way of thinking and ...

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