Friday, June 3, 2016

Lean Quote: Leadership and Learning are Indispensable to Each Other

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.

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.— John F. Kennedy

In a Lean organization, learning is critical, and line management's direct responsibility. Lean is based on how people think; simply defined, Lean is shared thinking. Management and employees need common philosophy, ideas, and principles. Leaders can't just put workers into situations, and hope they learn the right things. They should take responsibility for the message, combining real-life experience with direct coaching. An organization's principles should become guideposts to help people make tough decisions.

Lean Leaders must not only be teachers, they must also preach and promote teaching at all levels. Lean Leaders make sure that all of their direct reports are good teachers. In classical leadership, the role of teaching is frequently delegated – not so with the Lean Leaders.

To teach, a leader has to learn, and learning Lean is more than a cerebral exercise. By applying Lean to everything, a leader becomes a more effective teacher. Remember what leadership is really about: It's not a job; it's an act. Leaders have to learn how to teach, build creative tension, and eliminate fear and comfort. Leaders need to actively participate in the transformation of the business, and apply Lean to their own jobs.

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