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Monday, March 5, 2012

5 Lean Leadership Behaviors to Transform Your Culture

The concept of “lean” behaviors is analogous to lean production. Lean behaviors is a term my friend Bob Emiliani coined to define those behaviors that add or create value. This is contrary “fat” behavior which is non-value added and can be eliminated. Our behaviors lead us to create the systems we consciously or unconsciously use at work, and our systems help shape and reinforce the culture that is in place. Our culture is the foundation for our daily behaviors, and in turn, our daily results.

Leaders who wish to transform the culture of their organization need to change the behaviors and mindset of their employees. Therefore, I want to present 5 Lean leadership behaviors you need to emulate to make your transformation effective:

1.    Lead = Directing Others and Motivating Others

·         We lead by example, setting the pace by consistently motivating our team members to make the extraordinary happen.
·          Directing Others
·         Is good at establishing clear directions
·         Sets stretching objectives
·         Lays out work in a well-planned and organized manner
·         Maintains two-way dialogue with others on work and results
·         Brings about the best in people
·          Motivating Others
·         Can motivate many kinds of subordinates and team/project members
·         Pushes tasks and decisions down
·         Empowers others
·         Invites input from each person and shares ownership and visibility is someone people like working for and with
2.    Innovate = Creativity
·         Improving and enhancing the way people experience the world means driving technology with keen innovation.
·         Team members work together to break new ground and open up new initiatives that benefit your customers and your workplace.
·         Creativity
·         Comes up with a lot of new and unique ideas
·         Easily makes connections among previously unrelated notions
·         Tends to be seen as original and good in brainstorming settings
3.    Solve = Problem Solving
  • Every day, we innovate ways to solve challenges both in the products we develop and in the business practices that sustain your company.
  • On a local and global scale, we strive for continuous improvement.
  • Problem Solving
·         Solves difficult problems with effective solutions
·         Asks good questions and probes all fruitful sources for answers
·         Can see underlying or hidden problems and patterns
·         Is excellent at honest analysis
·         Looks beyond the obvious and doesn’t stop at the first answers
4.    Collaborate = Building Effective Teams
  • Your customers and colleagues are partners and measure your success by how well you help each other perform.
  • From working on design challenges at customer sites to sharing ideas with teammates, collaborating is how you and your customers consistently win.
  • Building Effective Teams
·         Creates strong morale and spirit in his/her team
·         Shares wins and successes
·         Fosters open dialogue
·         Lets people finish and be responsible for their work
·         Lets subordinates present to senior management
·         Acts as if real success is the success of the whole team
·         Creates a feeling of belonging in the team
5.    Win = Drive for Results and Action Oriented
  • Your focus on customer success drives you to look beyond the horizon and find solutions that get the job done.
  • Drive for Results
·         Can be counted on to exceed goals successfully
·         Is constantly and consistently one of the top performers
·         Very bottom-line oriented
·         Steadfastly pushes self and others for results
  • Action Oriented
·         Enjoys working hard
·         Is action oriented and full of energy for the things that he/she sees as challenging
·         Not fearful of acting with a minimum of planning
·         Seizes opportunities when they arise

If you are committed to becoming Lean then these behaviors will guide you to value. Lead, innovate, solve, collaborate, and win are behaviors that can shape the culture in your organization. Not only leaders but everybody can benefit from these Lean behaviors.

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  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My list for lean leadership can be summarised in five points:

    1. The importance of True North;
    2. Going to the gemba;
    3. Developing other leaders, not followers;
    4. Managers must be teachers;
    5. Learning to see (and hear).