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We’re going lean how do I tell my people?

It’s pretty unlikely you just woke up in the morning and decided hey I’m gonna take
my company on this lean adventure, I should tell everyone today.

Probably you read a bunch of books, mentioned it to your leadership team and
spoke to a few key employees. Then undoubtedly that disseminates through the
ranks and everybody has heard the boss says “we’re going lean” and they are all
left to their own devices to decide what does that mean for me?
In my experience people will fall into one of three camps.

  1. Excited for a new challenge and willing to learn.
  2. Not sure about this whole lean thing but I’ll sit back and watch how it goes
    before I decide.
  3. Totally against it digging in their heels and openly tell everyone they’re not doing

The first two categories we can work with, it’s the last one we’re all concerned
about. What happens if I lose good people? I can’t afford to lose people like journeyman
or craftspeople. (yeah it’s usually you guys that push back…lol)
I think first we have to find out why they immediately decided not to partake.
There are few reasons that usually come up.

  1. They got someone’s poor interpretation of what lean manufacturing is.
    Something along the lines of you’re gonna have to learn how to speak Japanese
    and work 10 times harder than you do now.
  2. They already put in nine hard hours with a company every day and feel like
    lean is something extra that they’re gonna have to squeeze in and they just don’t
    have time for it.
  3. And the big one, just a fear of change, the thought of having to learn
    something new.

All of these can be legitimate fears for someone, and should be addressed with
all due respect.

We can dispel all of these fears in one succinct explanation:
Lean at its core is continuous improvement through the elimination of waste. One
of the easiest ways to eliminate waste is to make your job easier.
You were going to approach your work each day regardless, therefore lean is not
anything extra it’s simply changing your approach to the work.
You don’t have to worry about learning new things, every single human being on
the planet is already programmed with a Lean mindset. Except for a few
counterintuitive principles there is almost nothing outside of the realm of common
sense. And no, you do not have to learn Japanese.

Let’s talk about how do we introduced lean to Our team.
The formula is simple;

  • Talk about the pain.
  • What would it be like if the pain was gone?
  • Introduce the concept of lean manufacturing as a possible solution
  • Show success stories from other companies from YouTube