Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Enterprise 
16th Edition  
In this edition, we continue 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 #3:
  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #3: Lack of Supervisor and Middle Management Buy-in
Also, in this edition we continue with our Lean Leader Coach series:
  • The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills - Part IV

This series is intended to provide tools, tips, ideas, and coaching for leaders whose organizations are implementing Lean as their operating system. 

Free Lean Webinars Schedule

Introduction to A3 Problem Solving

This is an introduction to the structured problem solving format known as A3 Problem Solving. Popularized by Toyota, the A3 format is used in Toyota for problem solving, proposal writing, and status reports.

This is a repeat of the previous A3 Webinar
Title: Introduction to A3 Problem Solving

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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"Lean Administration" -- Advanced
This Webinar will discuss the advanced details of implementing Lean in administrative/office areas that were not covered in the "Introduction" Webinar including:

- De-departmentalization, using Value Stream Mapping to decide where to start
- The design of an office cell using Takt Time
- Cultural and Business considerations in office cell implementations
- Necessary Lean office cell support activities, 5S, Standard Work, Kanbans

Title: Implementing Lean in Administrative and Office Areas - Advanced

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Space is limited.
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System Requirements:
Same as Webinar Above
Introduction to Applying Lean to Healthcare
This Webinar is an Introduction to how Lean applies to Healthcare processes and procedures. Included are the 8 general types of Healthcare activities that are wasteful and how Lean activities and tools can be applied to eliminate this waste.

Title:   An Introduction to Applying Lean in Healthcare

Date: Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
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System Requirements:
Same as Webinar Above
10 Reasons Why Lean Implementations Fail
Reason #3: Lack of Supervisor and Middle Management Buy-in 
The Supervisors and Managers who were great performers and were promoted when the organization ran a "command and control" style of management can become "brickwalls" to changing to a Lean culture. 
by Larry Rubrich
An Organization's Response to Change
Studies on how people respond to organizational change have been made by W. Edwards Deming, Tom Peters, and others. These studies discovered that there is a reaction to change by the people in the organization that is called the 10-80-10 rule. A chart illustrating this rule is shown below:
Organizational Change

The chart shows three levels of response in the organization. First is by the high performers. These are the people who, when told once what the new change and plan is, are in their work areas trying to implement. They need only to be supplied with resources for questions.
The second level of change is with the solid performers of the silent majority. The company needs the support of this group to change. There are some skeptics is this group, but in general they will take a wait-and-see approach. They require an opportunity to ask questions and express their concerns. They expect information about why the change is necessary, what is expected from them, and when is it going to happen. They need convincing this is not another "program of the month." This group adjusts to the change over time, with the time frame being up to 12 months for some members of the group. Some members of this group should be on the Guiding Coalition and others should participate early on in other World Class Enterprise (WCE) activities to accelerate this change.
We hesitate to call the third level the poor performers because there are good performers in this group. Typically, these are the gripers and complainers who don't want to accept change and wonder why we can't keep doing things like we did in the 80s. Poor attitude is what puts some of the good performers in this group. Others in this group are truly poor performers and could care less whether the company succeeds or fails. These are the 2% you wished worked for the competition.
Brick Walls Disguised as Supervisors/Middle Managers
Included, but not immediately recognizable in the third level, are some supervisors and middle managers. They are not immediately recognizable because, during the initial communications, meetings, and training about WCE, they are all shaking their heads, saying "yes, yes, we as a company need to do this." Unfortunately, when they get back to their work area or out on the factory floor, they revert to their "command and control" style of supervision (which management probably taught them years ago) and now it's "no, no, just do as I've always told you to do."
It is wishful thinking to believe that these "brickwalls," disguised as a supervisor or middle manager, don't exist in all organizations that have been around for a while. Our experience has been, and it is supported again by the literature, that if people-barriers occur in a WCE implementation, they will be management people.
The one caveat that we would add to this is that in unionized facilities, management and the union must agree on the WCE implementation need and strategy first, before it is announced or introduced. The point: change is difficult--and when an associate goes to his supervisor or the shop steward with a question about the WCE implementation, the answer needs to be the same.
Communicating a Vision of the Future to the Supervisors/Middle Managers
A WCE implementation changes how everyone thinks and does their job, especially supervisors and middle managers. In a traditional company, supervisors perform some or all of the following duties:
- Make job/shift assignments
- Track factory or office output
- Set schedules
- Perform associate evaluations
- Hire associates
- Train associates
- Meet with customers

In WCE, these responsibilities are handed over to the production or office teams. If we have not properly communicated with the supervisors about what their role is in the future, they will begin, even if subconsciously, efforts to protect their jobs and prevent the hand-off of these responsibilities.

Make sure that all of these associates have a clear understanding of their options and career path in the future.
The 90-Day Rule
Once you have identified the WCE implementation "brickwall" disguised as the supervisor or middle manager, what is the next step? Apply the 90-day rule. This is when you sit down with this individual and review the company's reason(s) and urgency for the WCE implementation or "trip." Using the context of a trip, the discussion can go something like this: the company is going on a train ride to WCE. As a valuable member of our organization, you need to be on this train. To obtain a ticket to board this train for WCE, in the next 90 days there are specific new behaviors you must acquire, and specific old behaviors that must be left behind. A discussion, definition, and measures of the new and old behaviors then occurs. Follow up meetings, to discuss the progress in eliminating the old behaviors and adopting the new ones, are essential and scheduled (not less than every two weeks). At 90 days, both parties should know what the decision on the boarding pass is.
If someone had asked us 25 years ago if everyone could change, we would have very optimistically said yes. Ultimately, our experience, supported by the literature, says no. What we need is to have open and honest dialogue with the identified brickwalls and present choices, options, and consequences.
Some people might be critical of the short length of time we recommend to adopt the new behaviors. Our experience has been that if people will not move seriously to adopting the new behaviors in 90 days, giving them six months or two years will not make any difference. The worst part is that, while they are not changing during this six-month to two-year period, these supervisors/middle managers can seriously disrupt your WCE implementation. Depending on their position and the size of the company, they might even cause it to become a program of the month.    
Dealing with "brick walls" is difficult because some of these management associates were trained and promoted in the old "command and control" management style by the company. They could have even excelled at this style of management because, for them, being "in-charge" and telling people what to do was an ego or power trip.
Now we want them to support two-way communication, empowerment, visual communication and scheduling, and self-directed teams. We want them to learn how to coach and mentor. Making this conversion, from a 80s style that gave them raises and promotions, can be very difficult. To paraphrase John Kotter, author of Leading Change, it's like telling someone to quit drinking, smoking, and go on a diet all at once.
Summary- Reason #3
There will be roadblocks, barriers, and brickwalls encountered on the WCE journey, and all of them will be people-management people. Remember to communicate, communicate, communicate to this group: the reason for WCE, how the business will change, and how their roles will change. Review the no-layoff policy. It applies to them also.
Prepare your version of the 90-Day Rule in advance of the brickwalls showing themselves (we can promise you there will be some). Act in a fair, honest, and timely fashion to avoid the high costs of stalling the implementation.
Improvement = Change
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The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills Part IV

This series is intended to provide tools, tips, ideas, and coaching for leaders whose organizations are implementing Lean as their operating system.
by Mattie Watson
Previously in this series we've addressed sharing information and asking for ideas and feedback.  Leaders often complain that few folks have anything to offer. The Q&A at the company meeting is deadly silent.  Requests for ideas are met with blank stares. We've identified that the antidote to these conditions is "Keep asking!" It will take folks some time to trust that you really are interested. Be assured that the flood gates are about to burst. 
Once the gates do open, how you respond to the ideas or concerns will dictate whether you get any more. Be very aware of your facial expression and tone of voice during these interactions.  Yes, I know you don't expect people to be so thin skinned. Yes, you shouldn't have to walk on eggshells. Ignore this advice at your own risk. You must be supportive of and interested in all incoming messages. This does NOT say you must agree with them. What all human beings want is to be heard. Take time to really listen to the comments all the way through without judgment before offering your own opinion. Furrowing your brow may be seen as a negative reaction.  Responding with "yeah, but..." states clearly that you disagree. Think about it. What is your reaction when YOUR boss does these things? 
It shouldn't be hard to have a favorable reaction to a great, creative idea. ("Wow, this will save us a million dollars a year!!") Big wins will likely be few in number and will surely diminish as you proceed down your Lean path. Can you show real enthusiasm for ideas that will only save a few hundred dollars a year? You should. Put enough of those together and you just might reach the million dollars a year savings. 
The bigger challenge is how to respond to what you consider to be really bad ideas. Dr. Linus Pauling said, "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of them." It follows, then, that every good idea will be plucked from possibly hundreds of ideas presented. You must recognize that there are no bad ideas. There are ideas that are currently not feasible, too expensive, too time consuming, not aligned with goals, etc. Your job is to help associates see these things while at the same time affirming their efforts in creative thinking. One way to eliminate ideas that are off track is to establish very clear objectives. A plant manager told a kaizen team they needed to increase output by 35% without adding people or equipment. This created a lot of grumbling and head shaking within the team but the objectives were clear. Once the team focused on the task at hand ("what can we do to reach the goal"), they approached the problem creatively and successfully. 
To summarize, share pertinent information with associates so they can generate good ideas and help solve problems, listen objectively to their suggestions and concerns, support their efforts, and keep asking for their input. It may take time but folks will begin to engage.
In the next issue, we will discuss implementation of ideas.

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Keith Lodahl
Goodwill Industries

Lean Master Facilitator Training 

Milwaukee, WI


This standard Lean Master Facilitator training session will be hosted by Grunau Construction Company in Milwaukee, WI (just south of the airport - MKE).
Grunau Company has been written up in several construction trade magazines for the strides they have made in their journey to become a World Class organization. 
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Lean Master Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 = October 19th
Week 2 = November 16th
Week 3 = December 14th
For more information and pricing, Click Here
For scheduling call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or email kelly@wcmfg.com

Lean Master Facilitator Training 

Appleton, WI 


This standard Lean Master Facilitator training session will be hosted by Goodwill Industries in Appleton, WI  
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Lean Master Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 = October 12th
Week 2 = November 2nd
Week 3 = December 7th
For scheduling, call Kelly at (260) 637-8064 or e-mail kelly@wcmfg.com
For more information and pricing, Click Here
Next Edition 
  • Why Lean Failures Occur - Reason #2: Lack of Communication
  • The Lean Leader Coach - Communication Skills Part V
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
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