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Friday, August 10, 2018

Lean Quote: Don’t Forget About People Improvement Not Just Process Improvement

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.

"Why not make the work easier and more interesting so that people do not have to sweat?  The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity.  People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’ they go there to ‘think." — Taiichi Ohno

In most companies, Lean Thinking quickly becomes focused on process improvement. This type of improvement is easier, more obvious, measurable, and seemingly more profitable and transferable than people improvement. That’s why most places make the mistake of reporting only process improvement metrics.

People get taken for granted.

This occurs because (so called) Lean experts don’t know how to effectively include respect for people as they apply Lean tools.

The solution is simple. Measure respect for people improvement as much as you measure continuous process improvement.

For example:
Is every employee trained sufficiently to do the job successfully?
How often do workgroups suggest an improvement?
Can every employee access the boss when needed?
How many employees solve problems and implement solutions?
Are employees learning new skills?
Do employees end most days satisfied?
Is every employee part of a team?
Is the turnover rate low?
What’s the percentage of internal promotion?

And anything and everything else that leaders and employees think are important.

As a leader, if you prepare the people, respect the people, and grow the people, you’ll be improving the people side of Lean Thinking.

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