Another Vote for Habits

Posted: February 5, 2014 in lean
Tags: ,

IndustryWeek has many articles about lean but this week’s commentary, Lessons From the Road: Building Behaviors Bedrock of Lean Success, by James Flinchbaugh, provided good support for my hypothesis that changing behaviors and habits trumps using methods and tools. Mr. Flinchbaugh writes:

“I have never seen an organization fail because they didn’t have the right improvement tools. I have seen many organizations fail because they didn’t have the right behaviors.”

You can do hundreds of lean (and other continuous improvement) workshops but if your organization does not change its daily behaviors, you’ll keep doing big, expensive lean workshops. The key is to have people learn and see enough in a lean workshop to then start doing lean behaviors which become lean habits. Your organizational culture changes when these lean habits are the normal way to do business.

I have rarely seen this in person but when I’ve seen “everyday” employees naturally doing and saying lean things, I know that the organization’s culture will have a hard time backsliding to the good old days.

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