Businesses have been implementing Lean for about 20 years and yet I often read that the actual success rate is less than 5%. This dismal result is due to a lack of the right kind of leadership for lean doesn’t fail – management fails.
Most senior business leaders fall into the category of “dollar centric leaders.” Dollar centric leaders focus on the bottom line and see people as resources to help them make the numbers. Employees whose contributions are deemed insufficient are quickly and emotionlessly discarded for dollar centric leaders believe it is their responsibility to cut staff to make the numbers. Dollar centric leaders invest their energy and time growing sales and the bottom line. The culture in these businesses is unsettling and unstable and fear is ever present. Therefore Lean will not and cannot have any lasting impact on businesses led by dollar centric leaders for Lean is a trust building journey. Trust does not exist in a workplace gripped by fear.
A different style of leadership that almost guarantees Lean success is people centric leadership. People centric leaders focus on growing people and process improvement and trust that business success will follow. They work hard to build ever higher levels of trust by ensuring each and every employee understands they and their contributions to the business are valued by leadership. They invest their energy and time in growing their people knowing those efforts will lead to long term business success and growth. These leaders are rare which is why the Lean success rate is so low.
How can dollar centric leaders be convinced to find a balance so that they give equal focus to their reports and practice people centric leadership? What are your thoughts?
If you are on the east coast and are interested in attending a public Lean Safety workshop here is a link to an AME sponsored 2-day event to be hosted by Siemens Healthcare in Glasgow, Delaware on December 8-9. http://www.ame.org/event/lean-safety