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Friday, March 30, 2012

Lean Quote: Creating Culture Change

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Culture is no more likely a target than the air we breathe. It is not something to target for change. Culture is an idea arising from experience. That is, our idea of culture of a place or organization is a result of what we experience there. In this way, a company's culture is a result of its management system. The premise of this book is that culture is critical, and to change it, you have to change your management system." — David Mann

This quote is from the book Creating a Lean Culture by David Mann.

Culture can be defined as the day-to-day experience of the ordinary worker. Leaders need to be mindful of their role in creating culture change. Here are seven ways to initiate a change in your management system, day by day:

Really Listen. Look at people when they talk. Give them your undivided attention. Ask follow-on questions during the conversation.

Don't waste time. If you keep employees or customers waiting you are saying to them "your time is not as important as mine"

Go to the Gemba. Go see for yourself at the place the work is done. If you allow a worker to use a machine that produces defects, you are in effect telling the worker their work does not matter.

Develop people. Encourage learning, teamwork and continuous improvement. Build knowledge in problem solving thinking and countermeasures.

Acknowledge the accomplishments of others. If things go well, give away the credit. If things go poorly, take the fall. This humble approach will ensure your team rallies behind you.

Temper authority. Don't use authority just because you have it. Encourage your people to make decisions, set their own goals, and take responsibility as often as possible.

Promote others often. Grooming talent is good for your organization and for you as a leader. Promote people around you, giving them opportunities to match or even surpass your success.

Your management system is the basis for what you do and how you do it. Adding these improvements to your management system will change your daily experience and therefore change your culture.

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