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In the name of lean?

If you search Google for the term 'lean' you can find a huge amount of resources about this subject. At its simplest it is a business improvement methodology / philosophy but this seems to get missed and so businesses head off looking for some mysterious set of tools that will transform their business when in actual fact it is more likely to be an attitude that delivers the improvements.

I once heard a highly respected business man state that 'lean is awful'. He was  referring to the cost cutting and vicious approaches that are often associated with lean. He then went on to talk about doing business 'simpler, faster and better', which sounds like a really good summary of lean. Many things are done in the name of lean, many of which are just not accurate.

Some businesses get hung up on the methodology, don't try to shoe horn a solution just because it's from the lean toolbox. Use the right tool for the issue at hand, don't get hung up on the names and show boating that can come from such an implementation. It's the results that count at the end of the day.

Sometimes you will try an approach and your team won't get it perfectly implemented, but the results will be significantly improved. Don't try to force a textbook implementation at the expense of getting great results from your team. A textbook implementation will undo itself if the people working with it don't understand it. Build your team's capability over time.

Don't do 'lean' for the sake of it, it takes time and attitudes must change for results to appear. Find the right solution for the right problem don't just do something because it can be done. Create some principles of change, focus on them and then you will be doing lean. Lean can be straightforward, as the business man said, 'simpler, faster and better'.


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