Friday, April 10, 2015

Lean Quote: Demand Commitment By The People Involved

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.

"Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.— Bill Gates

Without commitment, success is just but a far away dream. It is the force originating from within you that seeks to bring out the potential in you and drive you to your destiny. It is the desire of many to achieve success but a determined person is never satisfied until he gets what he is after. Commitment is what motivates one to strive and work hard towards success; therefore without it one tends to walk blindly and without purpose.

Commitment is demonstrated by a combination of two actions. The first action is called supporting. The second action underlying commitment is called improving. It is the combination of both supporting and improving behaviors that makes up the practice of commitment. Company leaders demonstrate their commitment to change and improvement by making these behaviors visible to everyone. Leading by example is the ultimate demonstration of your commitment.

When you make a commitment to do something, you are saying that they can trust you and rely on you. Commitments are involved in trust, and trust is the foundation of continuous improvement. Commitments are things that you say you will do and people trust you to do. When you fulfill those commitments, people trust you and will trust you in the future. Managers that do not follow through on commitments are not deemed as trustworthy, and trust is vital for transforming a business culture.

The best way to build commitment is by involving people. This way they will have a sense of ownership. By involving your frontline teams in selecting the project that they believe will make a difference, you’ll build ownership, engagement, and have their commitment.

Lean doesn’t work unless everyone is involved and has input. We must involve employees in the continuous improvement process because the people actually carrying out the job know how to do that job better. The best companies in the world tap the creativity and talent of the whole organization and not just a select few.

The lack of ongoing employee involvement at the shop-floor level has been identified as a major reason for the non-sustainability of Lean in the organization. When there is a lack of staff involvement, and management fails to seek employee input on critical decisions, employees may feel dejected and detached from the organization.

Employee involvement cultivates an atmosphere of collaboration, increases retention of talented staff, and intensifies dedication and commitment. Employees develop a sense of ownership over proposed changes when they are involved.  Employee engagement can not only make a real difference, it can set the great organizations apart from the merely good ones.

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