Why Lean Methodology Fails: All Planning and No Execution

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Generally speaking, planning is a good thing. It shows thoughtfulness and a desire to succeed. But when it comes to lean, all that good planning runs the risk of amounting to nothing. Aaron Lalvani writes about what is holding lean execution back.

Falling Short

As Lalvani says, a good analysis process involves an assessment of processes/methods/people, data generation, KPI creation, uncovering efficiencies, and developing strategies to implement efficiencies. The hang ups occur in the actual implementation of the assessments, as they often end up just sitting on the commissioning executive’s desk. This is part of what Lalvani describes as a “no action” culture, where even documented savings are sometimes not enough to spur action. In such cases, what is likely happening is that an assessment touches upon gray areas (aka lousy areas) of the business, where it is obvious there is room to improve, but no one wants to take up the banner to repair it:

Maybe that is why so many assessments are shelved – it scares weak management because they forget the reason for the cost reduction strategy when they react that way. A good analysis of operations will not only show the bad parts – it will provide a smooth trip to an exciting new destination, where things work better, people are happier and there’s a bigger bottom line. [source]

The only way to force through a positive change is to paint the most convincingly sunny picture possible of what the other side of their troubles will look like. Convey to executives every good reason to make the change, especially pointing to areas of increased productivity and customer/workforce satisfaction. Try to incorporate everyone into the process too, so that it really feels like a team effort that you are enacting together. Give them a shoulder to lean on. Ha!

Read the original article summary in AITS here>>

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