Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
10th Edition
This edition continues our discussion on How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures - 10 Reasons Why Failures Occur. We will discuss, from the least critical (Reason #10), to most critical/fatal (Reason #1) why Lean implementation failures occur. Today we will discuss Reason #8:
  • People Measures Not Aligned with the Organization's World Class Enterprise Goals

Additionally, we will give the Leadership Team some advice on the importance of team facilitation in:
  • Team Facilitator - An Essential Role

People Measures not Aligned with the Organization's World Class Enterprise (WCE) Goals

We create "Culture Confusion" when our people measures and the organization's WCE goals are not aligned   
Larry Rubrich
Companies can make rapid WCE improvement progress when everyone is pulling in that direction as a team. But how do you get that kind of teamwork? It starts with understanding the environmental elements in the workplace that support teamwork. These four elements are:
1) High levels of two-way communication throughout the organization.
2) Team members with diverse backgrounds.
3) Common purpose, motivated by mission. A strongly developed vision and mission for the organization helps all team members make the right decisions and saves time in the decision making process. One has only to ask "Does this decision support the goals of the organization?"
4) Common goals, common measurements. Teamwork is enhanced when all team members understand the goals of the team and the organization, and common measurements, understood by everyone, are used to assess the progress made.
For purposes of this discussion, the above elements #3 and #4 are the topic (it assumes #1 and #2 are in place).
In general, most organizations can successfully set common purposes and goals and these goals at the Leadership Team level are typically financial. In this case we'll assume there are Policy Deployment/WCE implementation activities which are supporting and driving to the achievement of the organization's financial goals. The problem is, these companies then send conflicting messages to their associates as to how management uses and decides performance evaluations, promotions, rewards, and bonus systems. We want to implement WCE so we change and improve, but in reality we are trying to build a "Lean Culture" based on performance evaluations, promotions, rewards, and bonus systems that were designed for a "traditional" business environment.
These conflicting messages are confusing to everyone and can be used by the WCE brick walls (usually middle managers or supervisors) and naysayers to support their "let's do it the way we have always done it" position. Here are the things that should be looked at:
Performance Evaluations
Make sure management evaluations consider:  
- Leadership, including being the model and example of the performance and culture the organization is trying to create
- Communication activities (both verbal and visual)
- Teamwork

 - Commitment to continuous improvement using Lean tools and techniques as the "system" to achieve the organization's goals (Policy Deployment) 
Supervisory evaluations should include:
- Being the model and example of the performance and culture the organization is trying to create

- Development of coaching, mentoring and teaching skills
- Commitment to associate empowerment
- Commitment to team based activities
- Teamwork
- Commitments to continuous improvement using Lean tools and techniques as their way of helping to achieve organization's goals

Hourly associate evaluations should include:

 - Development of an understanding of the performance and culture the organization is trying to create
- Commitment to, and use of the continuous improvement tools and techniques of Lean as their way of helping the organization achieve its goals
- Commitment to team based activities
- Teamwork
Promotions, Pay Increases & Bonuses
Again, the goal is that no one gets promoted, or financially rewarded unless they are leaders and contributors to the WCE implementation. No conflicting messages! 
Promoting A Brick Wall Supervisor - A Real Example
A small manufacturing company (less than 100 people) started a Lean implementation. In the first year, the company made what it defined as good progress even though its most senior supervisor did not support the Lean implementation. The improvements made in the first year could all be attributed to the efforts of the shop floor associates.
The supervisor was a classic example of a "brick wall to change" disguised as a member of management. In Lean planning meetings he would say yes, yes, yes, to Lean. But when he returned to the shop floor it was no, no, no, to any improvement activities - "just do it the way we have always done it" was his mantra.
When it was pointed out early on that this supervisor was an issue, top management, to a fault, was very loyal to this long-term associate. "He will come around, he will eventually understand." He didn't change and to our amazement eventually was promoted. The Lean implementation stalled, and armed with a promotion, the improved processes actually went back to what the supervisor felt comfortable with. The associates on the shop floor quickly gave up and did what the supervisor told them to do!
Team Facilitator - An Essential Role
As organizations transition to a team based culture, the importance of a Team Facilitator becomes apparent as these organizations discover that most of their associates are not skilled at being effective team members.
by Mattie Watson
Most organizations, as they begin their Lean journey, recognize the importance of teams in the Lean implementation process. Quickly, teams are formed and projects established with expectations of great results. Unfortunately, most associates are not skilled at being effective team members. Nor do they intuitively know how to transition from being told what to do to being empowered. The behavioral changes required by everyone on the teams must be supported by an objective third party until the group begins to exhibit the skills listed below on their own. 
Beyond the skills that the Facilitator will impart on the individual team members and to the team itself (developed in the next paragraph), selecting a Facilitator candidate begins with the following:
  • This should be a person already in the organization, going outside is a distant second choice.
  • This person must be a volunteer, this is not a position that you recruit for, or talk someone into.
  • Excellent communication and people skills are required - Facilitators must be able to communicate effectively with everyone in the organization - regardless of position.
  • The candidate should have no organizational "baggage" - they must be trusted throughout the organization.  
Having passed the above criteria, Facilitator candidates should have, or be willing to develop, the following expertise:
  • Extensive knowledge of the team development process - An understanding of the stages of team development plus how to navigate them is required.
  • Strong team building skills - These include how to resolve conflict, provide feedback, and communicate in the team environment.
  • Effective meeting skills - Knowledge of how to keep meetings focused and on track to meet stated objectives is essential.
  • Problem solving skills - Teams must be taught how to analyze problems, brainstorm solutions, and implement improvements. Facilitators are instrumental in providing this instruction as well as training in specific problem solving tools such as Pareto analysis, histograms, control charts, etc.
  • Presentation skills - Facilitators will be making presentations to teams, management, and others in the organization. They must feel comfortable with this process.
Ideally, Team Facilitators will be on good terms with everyone on the team they are facilitating. Team members should view the facilitator as neutral and fair so trust can grow. 
Given the importance of what an organization is trying to accomplish in their Lean implementation, it would be foolhardy to leave to chance the development of the teams who will make the objective a reality. Support from management by providing skilled, trained Facilitators will increase the success of the Lean implementation exponentially. 

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Next Issue Articles:

  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #7: Lack of Lean Leadership
  • The Lean Leader Coach
Policy Deployment 

The Most Powerful Lean Activity Your Organization Will Ever Accomplish!


    Don't forget to register for our free seminars!

Upcoming Lean Events & Activities - Registration is Required (unless noted, all activities are free) 

Concurrent Sessions:  
July 14th - Introduction to Lean Healthcare - South Suburban College (IL), Oak Forest Campus, 9-11 am
July 14th - Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning for Healthcare - South Suburban College (IL), Oak Forest Campus, 9-11 am
Concurrent Sessions: 
August 4th - Introduction to Lean - South Suburban College (IL), Oak Forest Campus, 9-11 am
August 4th - Policy Deployment & Lean Implementation Planning - South Suburban College (IL), Oak Forest Campus, 9-11 am
To register, please call 260-637-8064, or e-mail kelly@wcmfg.com. 
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
2009 WCM Associates
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