"It is only when management supports, in both word and deed, the goal of continuous improvement, that it will begin to see increases in both quality and productivity." — Wheeler and Chambers
In my experience I have learned that the single most important element for success in Lean is the human element. First and foremost Lean managers have the critical role of motivating and engaging all people to work together toward a common goal. Management must define and explain what that goal is, share a path to achieve it, motivate people to take the journey with them, and assist them by removing obstacles.
All managers are teachers, and their actions determine company capability. Whether consciously or not, with their everyday words and actions all managers are teaching their people a mindset and approach. So it makes sense to ask, “What patterns of behavior and thought do we want to be teaching in our organization?”
Commitment from management is a “MUST”. In fact, it is the driving force. Procedures, tools, and database are all useless if the management does not want to see an improvement culture in the organization. The employees of the organization will not care, if the management themselves do not show the attitude to follow the right path.
The truth is demonstrating commitment is hard work. Wavering commitment is usually seen as no commitment at all. The only way to achieve a reputation for commitment is through determination and persistence. Genuine commitment stands the test of time.
Commitment is demonstrated by a combination of two actions. The first action is called supporting. The second action underlying commitment is called improving.