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Monday, June 3, 2019

Lean Starts with Long-Term Thinking

Lean isn’t just something you do, it’s something you become. The quest to become Lean is never-ending simply because there are always new ways to become even more Lean, even more streamlined, even more efficient. Beyond that…Lean isn’t easy. There are great benefits to be derived from organizations that take even just the first step towards focused improvement, but it will require dedication and investment of time and money.

There is no lean “roadmap” or cookbook that tells you exactly how to apply Lean – it will be different for every situation and organization – but the most successful Lean implementations will apply key principles, if not incorporate them into most major business decisions. 

“Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.”

This principle is perhaps the hardest one to apply, as it will generally come with a giant culture/mindset change. It’s also the hardest one to approach. Most companies and organizations don’t have a long-term philosophy because they are simply trying to survive in the current moment.

A long-term philosophy acts as a guiding light for your organization and culture and, with strict adherence and a deep respect of the philosophy, can drive the company focus indefinitely. If based on deep, meaningful values, your company’s long-term philosophy cannot be easily undone and will serve as the compass for all major company decisions, projects and goals. And, if lived and practiced by your leaders, it can shape employee behavior and increase motivation and productivity. We all crave doing work that matters and are constantly in search of why. Why do we do what we do? Why does it matter? Why should we care? Taking the time to determine your company’s long-term philosophy is the first step in providing that sense of purpose and answering those whys for your employees and customers.

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