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Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
Greetings!
 
In our 2nd edition, we will begin a discussion entitled "How to Get More Out of Your Lean Implementation." In this discussion, we review some of the simple, yet "improvement stopping" activities that often are undervalued, overlooked, or missed in a Lean implementation. This discussion will continue through edition #6. In this edition we will discuss:
 
1) The Four Requirements for Teamwork to Occur in any Organization
2) What Happens When You Don't Communicate?   
 

The Four Requirements for Teamwork to Occur in any Organization 

by Larry Rubrich 
 
The four elements required for teamwork to develop in an organization are:
 
1) High levels of two-way communication
 
2) Team members with diverse backgrounds
 
3) Common purpose/motivated by mission
 
4) Common goals/measurements 
 
Element #1 is two-way communication. Understand that there is no teamwork in any organization without communication. When top managers are surveyed, 99% say that teams and teamwork are important to the success of their organization. Yet these same organizations have few, if any, successful teams. Teams, easy to say, but hard to do! Or is it?
 
While top managers "mouth" the need for teams and teamwork, their actions against these requirements indicate something different.

For a team to develop and be successful, everyone in the organization must have a copy of the playbook. The team playbook outlines the organization's goals (win the Super Bowl) and the activities (plays) that the team must execute to achieve the goals. The team has measurement systems (scoreboard) to track their progress. The quarterback and coaches (Leadership Team) are constantly communicating verbally and visually with the team and sub-team members (offensive line, defense, special teams, etc.). The team makes adjustments along the path to their goal. One can only imagine the results of a football play where the quarterback only communicated the "play call" to two team members instead of all ten in the huddle. Yet this is most often the norm in American business.
 
Ninety-eight percent of people in organizations want to take care of their customers, they want the company to be successful, they want to have jobs at the company in the future. To access these resources, an environment (culture) must be created where these 98% know they are valuable members of the team. Communication is the start of the process.
 
The question for top managers is: Do you want 6-8 managers trying to achieve the company's budget, plans and goals, or do you want the entire organization doing that?
 
Element #2 is team diversity. The most creative, best problem solving teams are those with team members that have diverse backgrounds. Diversity allows the composite team to view problems/opportunities from many angles or facets - a 360 degree/global view. Every person working on a problem sees the problem from "their angle," facet, or frame of reference. This angle is determined by the person's background, education, experiences, and culture (BEEC). These factors force a person into viewing the problem from that angle or frame of reference. If there are 10 people on a team (or think of it as 9 clones of the same person) and they all have similar BEEC factors, great or even good creativity or problem solutions will not occur because the problem/opportunity is not seen in its entirety. Will the cloned BEEC team come up with a solution, yes. Will it ultimately in time be viewed as a good solution, no.
 
Required elements #3 (common purpose / motivated by a mission) and #4 (common goals / measurements) are usually lumped together. 
 
Everyone in the organization must have customer satisfaction as a common purpose and goal so all will pull in that direction. What things prevent everyone from pulling in the direction of customer satisfaction?   

The lack of Lean "system thinking" is one of them. (We talked in our previous edition about how departmentalization inhibits common purpose and goals) We broadly define the system as the processes required from the time the customer places the order for a product or service, until the service is performed, or the product ships. System thinking requires that all decisions/improvements in an organization are made based on its impact on the 'system efficiency.' If a suggested improvement will improve department efficiency, but will negatively impact the system efficiency, it is not done.

Three Part Book Review

Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning -- 10 Step Roadmap to Successful Policy Deployment Using Lean as a System

by Fayad and Rubrich 

 

Part One -- What clients are saying about the process described in the book:  
 
"In 2007, WCM Associates (Vince Fayad) introduced the Policy Deployment and Lean Implementation Planning (LIP) tool to our company. Today, LIP is widely used and accepted across our business as a roadmap for planning and implementing a
variety of process and cost improvements programs throughout the year. We now enter each calendar year with a predefined plan of scheduled lean events that has resulted
in our company achieving millions of dollars in annual costs savings."
 
David L. Trax
Corporate SVP - Operations and Supply Chain,
Norwood Promotional Products
 
"My first attempt to incorporate Lean Manufacturing techniques was in 1995. I tried to incorporate work cells into our operation. This worked well with the first cell because I had handpicked my best people. The next cell wasn't so successful. So I retreated and was gun shy to try this effort again. Eight years later I was ready again because I learned where I went wrong. The Business Planning and Lean methodologies as outlined in this book have given me the tools to lead the company to a higher level. It has given my people the skills and confidence to analyze, solve problems, and implement decisions using business tools and create business cases. I can only imagine what a different company we would be today if I had more knowledge of how to integrate Lean with our business plans eight years ago."
 
Thomas Dahbura
Vice President Operations,
Hub Labels, Inc.
 

In Part Two of this book review we will discuss the chart below -- fully utilizing the power of Lean in your organization.
 
% Lean 
 

 
Have Questions/Topics You Would Like to See Discussed in our Newsletter?
Send an email (this is working now) to newsletter@wcmfg.com
 
Lean Books and Supplies are available at: www.wcmfg.com 

What Happens When You Don't Communicate? 

by Mattie Watson
When the Leadership Team in an organization doesn't communicate, people in that  organization will learn about what is going on through the "rumor mill." Organizational change is discovered, not announced. Remember, a rumor's sole purpose in life is to fill in voids in communication. Generally, the rumor mill is the only reliable way of obtaining information when the Leadership Team fails to effectively communicate. Unfortunately, rumors tend to be distortions of the truth or complete untruths. People know when change is in the wind so they tend to believe the rumors. They see management going to off-site meetings and get involved in different types of training. Managers and supervisors come back from these events speaking a different language and acting differently.
 
If management does not effectively communicate the vision for the future and the impact that change is going to have on the organization and the people, then confusion and rumors ensue and resistance and resentment develop as a result of the rumors (as depicted in the model shown below).
 
Human Nature 
 
Confusion and rumors begin to spread fear in the organization and resistance begins to develop. It now takes a great deal of effort to change or overcome the resentment that has set in. In some organizations, management is never able to change or recover from the resentment that has occurred.

Additionally, the confusion, rumors, and fear has a huge negative impact on the organization's productivity because while your associates are fearful and discussing the latest rumor, they are not adding value to the organization's products or services.
 
An effective Leadership Team can short circuit this confusion, fear, resistance, and resentment loop by announcing the change and communicating it to everyone at the same time. Then by communicating, communicating, and communicating about the change, the Leadership Team can begin to develop interest from the organization in the change (see figure below). The Leadership Team must continue to grow this interest, enthusiasm, and excitement by providing ongoing communication updates to the vision and the plan for what the organization will look like one, three, and five years down the road. 
 
Human Nature and Communication
 

Next Issue:

  • The Misuse of Kaizen Events
  • Developing Behavioral Expectations for Your Associates 
 
 
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
2009 WCM Associates
 
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