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Friday, May 25, 2012

Lean Quote: Change Leaders Create Constancy of Purpose

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.

"Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business and to provide jobs." — Deming

Lean leaders and those who manage change realize well that change is the only constant. Creating constancy of purpose towards improving work product and service levels is the basis of continual improvement.

Here are six strategies that Lean leaders should use to create a constancy of purpose and a constancy of change.

1. Embrace change, It’s inevitable. Be first, demonstrate personal commitment to serve.
2. Assume nothing and question everything. Challenge status quo, take action, and drive for results.
3. Get down in the trenches. Go to the Gemba, use teamwork, and learn see the whole situation.
4. Show integrity, always. Do the right things and be courageous in the face of challenge
5. Be transparent. Communicate well and get involved.
6. Inspire and recognize leadership in others. Great leaders know their primary role is to develop and motivate people.

It is our role as leaders to reinforce this cultural transformation in the workers perception of their work roles, to create structures for empowered workers to be accountable and successful, to communicate, support, reward and model this culture of engaged workers, helping to identify and resolve defects and eliminate waste. Leaders must be engaged and lead from "the shop floor" to use the manufacturing analogy. It is from this perspective that opportunities for improvement become evident daily, at a very granular level. This leader engagement is more than just taking a walk-around to ask how things are going.

Successful organizations require customer-centric purpose and continuous improvement around safety, quality, and innovation. And the catalysts for this are great leaders who understand the mechanism of change well.

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