Lean Roadmap Newsletter
Becoming a World Class Organization 
27th Edition  
The topic for this edition is:
    • Dealing with "Resistance to Lean" at the Supervisory and Middle Management Levels

Free Lean Webinar Schedule

A complete schedule can be found at www.wcmfg.com

Free On-Site Policy Deployment Seminar

We will come to your location to present a 2-hour Introduction to Policy Deployment to your Organization's Leadership Team and selected team members.  
For questions or scheduling, call us at (260) 637-8064 or e-mail info@wcmfg.com 

Certified Lean Facilitator Training (Manufacturing)

 Appleton, WI
This Certified Lean Facilitator "public" training session will be hosted by Goodwill Industries in Appleton, WI.
You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Certified Lean Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 - March 22, 2010
Week 2 - April 12, 2010
Week 3 - May 17th, 2010
For more information and pricing, Click Here
For scheduling, call us at 260-637-8064 or e-mail info@wcmfg.com

Certified Lean Facilitator Training (Administrative/Service)

Mechanicsburg, PA

This standard Certified Lean Facilitator training session will be hosted by CenterPoint Engineering Inc. Centerpoint is a construction engineering firm.  

You can attend just one class or start the journey to becoming a Certified Lean Facilitator by attending all 3 weeks.
Session dates are:
Week 1 - March 22, 2010
Week 2 - April 19, 2010 
Week 3 - May 17, 2010 
For scheduling, call us at 260-637-8064 or e-mail info@wcmfg.com
For more information and pricing, Click Here
Dealing with Resistance to Lean at the Supervisory and Middle Management Levels
Resistance to Lean at the Supervisory and Middle Management Levels is the #3 reason why Lean fails in organizations - deny this potential problem at the peril of your Lean implementation!
by Larry Rubrich 
All successful and sustainable implementations of Lean start with an organization's top management. Trying to implement Lean from the "middle-out" or the bottom-up, may result in "some" improvements, but it will not result in your organization becoming a World Class company that is globally competitive.
In the book Leading Change, by John Kotter, Kotter notes the change implementation prerequisites (for a Lean Implementation) that management must accomplish as:      
  • Creating a sense of change urgency
  • Developing a guiding coalition/alliance to steer the organization through the change
  • Developing a vision/picture of the company's future state and a strategy to achieve it
  • Communicating the vision and strategy to the entire workforce
  • Empowering all associates/employees
Organizations inadvertently create brick walls to change, disguised as supervisors and middle managers, if any of the following topics are not covered or communicated clearly during these prerequisite activities: 
  1. Associate/Employee empowerment - how will the supervisor's & manager's jobs be affected? Will they have jobs?
  2. One of the Four Components of a Lean implementation is the development of a Lean Culture to support the Lean Implementation - have we planned for this?
  3. Have we linked our people measures (performance evaluations, promotion criteria, merit increases, and bonuses) to the Lean Culture and the Lean implementation vision so we do not send mixed messages with regard to what is important.
It is important to remember that resistance to change is often the result of a lack of clearly communicated vision and strategy.
Let's look at each of the three brick wall building activities:
Creating Brick Wall #1 - Fear of Associate/Employee Empowerment   
The first 80% of the journey to become a World Class organization is through all the associates in the organization. This means creating an environment where empowerment can develop (this is an evolutionary process, not revolutionary).  An empowered environment generally contains these elements:   
  • Associates are recognized as the most valuable resource
  • Team work is utilized throughout the organization
  • Decision making is delegated to the lowest level possible
  • Openness, initiative, and risk taking are promoted
  • Accountability, credit, responsibility and ownership are shared (ownership here means psychological ownership)
What this means to supervisors and managers is that many of their responsibilities prior to Lean  including:
  • Make job/shift assignments
  • Track factory or office output
  • Set schedules/performance requirements
  • Perform associate evaluations
  • Meet with customers
  • Train associates
  • Hire/terminate associates
over a period of time are all (except terminations) given to the teams. To prevent the creation of a brick wall, supervisors/managers need to know: 
  • How will their jobs be affected? Will they have a job after empowerment?
  • What will their new responsibilities look like?
  • What does their new career path look like (is training required)?
Supervisor Resistance to Change
Creating Brick Wall #2 - Failure to Develop a Lean Culture  
A successful and sustainable  Lean implementation has four components: Lean Planning, Lean Concepts, Lean Tools, and Lean Culture.
Lean Components
Lean Culture is the component that builds a Lean foundation of thoughts, expectations, and behaviors that makes the Lean implementation happen. This is the component that musters the organization's most important resource, its people, to create a "war on waste."
The only major competitive weapon an organization has
is its people. Most organizations do not have a lot of patents or technology that can protect them from their competitors or create barriers to entry into their markets. Generally speaking, it is an organization's people that make the difference.
Since most organizations have spent little time creating a "positive, people-based" culture, the Lean Culture component (the foundation of Lean), must be developed.
The start of this culture development (or culture modification if a culture already exists) begins with "behavioral expectations." Behavioral expectations or codes of conduct are short statements, usually in the form of a laminated pocket card, that are "a set of rules or standards" that members of the organization use to guide their behavior and actions.
It should be noted that the behavioral expectations will only produce culture change if they are modeled by top management. Since the culture change process can take years, top management must be committed to the guidelines as a new way of doing business. An excellent example of behavioral guidelines (Code of Conduct) is shown below:
Code of Conduct
Creating Brick Wall #3 - Failure to Link and Align Our Lean Culture and Behavioral Expectations to Our People Measures
Again, to prevent the creation of resistance at the supervisory and middle manager levels as a result of less than clear communication, our vision, behavioral expectations and culture, and our people measures must all be on the same page. Linking and alignment areas include:
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Promotions
  • Reward Systems
  • Bonus Systems
  • Recruiting
  • New Associate Orientation
In general, clear and complete communication of the vision and strategy involved in the Lean implementation will prevent brick wall building. 
What do you do when the company does all the right things and you still have a brick wall? This is one of the topics in the next newsletter.
Forward to a Friend 
Next Edition    
  • Is There a Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma? When Should I Use Lean? When Should I Use Six Sigma?
  • What do you do when the company does all the right things and you still have a brick wall to change?
Larry Rubrich
WCM Associates LLC
© 2010 WCM Associates
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