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Friday, April 13, 2012

Lean Quote: Leadership is About Farming Not Hunting

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.

"Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships." — Dr. Ivan Misner, NY bestselling author & founder of BNI

This is true of leadership as well. The best analogy of a Lean leader that I have heard is related to this quote. A Lean leader is a farmer not a hunter. Farmers take the long view, and win in the long term. Hunters take the short view, get early gains but ultimately die out. Farmers are shepherds.

The Lean leadership role has many names. Whether you call them a sensei, champion, coach, or leader; the role is no less critical for the organization to be successful. I am not one that pays much attention to titles. A Lean leader is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a team or of individual.

The following characteristics are desirable for a good Lean leader:

  • Active-learner open to new ideas
  • Natural problem-solving skills
  • Basics technical skills (comfortable with spreadsheets, graphs, data, etc.)
  • Keen Observer
  • Hands-on
  • Passionate about improving processes
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent communicator (writing & speaking)
  • Systems thinkers (able to understand process flows, etc.)
These characteristics alone don't make a Lean leader. The Lean leader must have technical knowledge in the lean tools and tacit knowledge from experience. Nobody is born knowing these principles and how to implement them. Everyone has to learn them through practice, trial and error, and coaching. Success is not based on who you are but rather on what you do. Behaviors can be learned and unlearned.

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  1. Excellent post, Tim. Love the quote. It says a lot.

  2. Quite amazing! We learn some basic fundamental tips on leadership and while implementing these tips hope we develop our quality of leadership. A leader is capable to deal with worst situations, should be an active learner, able to develop personal skills and inspire others. I hope the above following data present in this article will bring good changes in our leadership attitude.