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Friday, March 29, 2013

Lean Quote: Respect for People Consists of Understanding, Mutual Trust, and Teamwork

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.

"Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger." — Bill Bradley

The power behind Lean is management's commitment to continuously invest in its people and promote a culture of continuous improvement.  The Toyota Way can be briefly summarized through the two pillars that support it: Continuous Improvement and Respect for People.

Many companies focus on improvement and fall short on respecting their people. Not for lack of effort but for misunderstanding what constitutes treating employees with genuine respect, as opposed to being polite and considerate. We must practice the equally important Toyota principle “Respect for People”.

The “Respect for People” principle consists of two parts: “Respect” and “Teamwork,” and is as follows:
“RESPECT: We respect others, make every effort to understand each other, take responsibility and do our best to build mutual trust.
TEAMWORK: We stimulate personal and professional growth, share the opportunities of development and maximize individual and team performance.”

Most of us already know the importance of respecting each other. Yet it’s also true that we all, at some time or another, may have been less than respectful to people with whom we work. Most often, these expressions are not intentional. Even so, it’s important that we all be able to recognize these kinds of situations so that we can take steps to avoid them whenever possible and to respond to them in an appropriate manner when they occur.

We are all unique individuals, with our own gifts, skills, concerns, and perspectives. This uniqueness is part of what makes us who we are as a person, although, in the workplace it can also be what set us apart from our co-workers. So the question becomes how we can find common ground given all our unique gifts, skills, concerns, and perspectives. At the core, respect has to do with establishing and maintaining effective working relationships.

In the end Lean is all about people.  The power behind Lean is a management's commitment to continuously invest in its people and promote a culture of continuous improvement.  Establishing good working conditions to promote teamwork is a key component of respect for people.

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  1. Good post. I am curious what you would recommend to allay peoples fears when for instance a physical change is taking place on the floor. An explanation is made, they are involved to a degree but ultimately it is for the good of the operation. This crerates anger and I am at a loss as to how to difuse this.


  2. It took a little bit to respond but I wanted to give a thorough answer. You can see that in the following post: