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Monday, December 4, 2023

The Foundation of Lean Organization – Purpose, Plan, People, Process, And Performance

The Lean business process improvement methodology is a way of planning and measuring the long-term success in our organization, focused on improving safety, quality, delivery, cost, and employee morale. It seeks to eliminate waste and streamline the delivery of value to the customer. There are dozens of tools associated with the practice of Lean, such as value stream mapping, Kanban, and Gemba walks, all of which are useful and effective.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these tools are deployed within the context of purpose, people, and process. True innovation and value-creation in execution are powered by sharing purpose, careful planning, creative mindsets, dynamic processes, and proven performance. Together they enable both agility and adaptability in today’s complex environment. Together they drive execution excellence.

Purpose: (Task Vs. Mission Driven)

Task driven environments are very checklist heavy, compliance oriented and top-down leadership centric. Purpose driven environments are where team members are inspired by a common mission, vision and values.

Plan: (Individual vs Alignment)

To be successful we need a clear, well-defined plan that everyone knows and knows how their efforts towards that plan will drive success and meaning for themselves and the business as a whole. 

People: (Collaborative vs. Competitive)

Collaborative environments are highly integrated team efforts. Competitive environments are highly independent. Lean starts and ends with people. We seek to create the conditions under which people can achieve their maximum potential. We recognize that great ideas for improvement can come from every level of the organization and that everyone should be provided with the tools that help them contribute.

Process: (Status Quo vs. Innovate)

Status Quo environments live by the motto, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. These environments are highly predictable and stable. Innovative environments on the other hand are highly flexible and encourage failing fast. Innovative cultures understand the importance of quickly adapting to change.

Performance: (Results focused vs Process Accountability)

Performance is what your team must do to delight customers, both external and internal. We must make sure everyone understands what’s expected, how we’ll measure and monitor it, celebrate the successes and hold ourselves accountable when we fall short.

Purpose, plan, people, process, and performance are the best assets to develop and focus on to drive execution excellence. Purpose drives commitment. Plans fulfills our purpose. People's mindsets and behaviors determine the effectiveness of collaboration. Processes guide interaction forward towards meaningful objectives. Performance is how we hold ourselves accountable and deliver on our commitment to our customers, shareholders, and employees.

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