"A tool is just an opportunity with a handle. It's just a way of thinking about something differently. " — Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly
We all have stories of those who try to use Lean as a tool to improve their business but fail. Those of us who have experienced the true power of Lean understand that it is more than that.
Lean is not about the tools it’s how they are applied. A large number of organizations have failed to produce the desired results from the direct and prescriptive application of Lean tools. The tools themselves have been proven to work in many situations. The difference must then be in how the tools were applied, their appropriateness, but not the tools themselves.
There are thousands of Lean tools, because each problem requires its own unique tool to help solve it. However, tools do not solve problems but rather people do. People are needed to apply tools. Basically, leaders have to learn to think differently and see their customers and business differently, that’s people development, not tools development.
Lean is a way of thinking. It is about learning to see opportunities and continually improving them. Lean is a system of tools and people that work together.