Developing a Lean Culture - An Elements Checklist (Part 1)
|All organizations have cultures, whether the Leadership Team has guided its development or the culture develops on its own. Culture can have a positive or negative impact on the organization's performance.|
by Larry Rubrich
|What is organizational culture?
Culture is a set of rules and standards shared by members of an organization, which when acted upon by the members, produce behavior that falls within a range the organization considers proper and acceptable.
Culture is a learned process and is developed by the organization as a response to the working environment established by the organization's leadership and management team.
A culture is established in all organizations, regardless of whether its development is guided or unguided.
Culture can have a positive or negative impact on the organization's performance.
What is the purpose of culture?
Culture helps us SURVIVE in the environment in which we live and work. Survival is a very strong word. Without culture, everyone in an organization would act or behave differently. No one would be able to anticipate someone else's behavior, and no one would understand why people behave the way they do. The organization's performance would be very chaotic.
Why would culture change?
Culture is a learned process that aids us in surviving in the environment in which we live and work. If the environment changes, then the culture would have to change in order to increase the chances for the organization to survive.
Notice we say "increase" our chances of surviving. There are no guarantees in life. The more flexible and adaptable a culture is to an ever-changing environment, the more chance it has in adapting or responding to environmental pressures.
Lean Culture - One of the four components of a successful Lean implementation
Shown on the picture below they are: Lean Planning, Lean Concepts, Lean Tools, and Lean Culture. Policy Deployment, which connects an organization's goals to the Lean Tools, is part of the Lean Planning activity.
It is important to note that this order of component implementation may seem incorrect to current Lean Practitioners. This results from our tendency to jump to the Lean Tools first. However, the roadmap to using Lean as a System and becoming World Class starts with the end in mind - Lean Planning. Lean Planning ensures that we are not using Lean as an add-on or appendage in our organization, but as the system to accomplish the organization's goals.
All four of these components must be implemented to their fullest extent throughout the organization, in a timely manner, to be successful. Most organizations like to pick and choose what elements of Lean they would like to implement. This is primarily because they do not understand that Lean is a total system and represents a complete and comprehensive culture change in their organization. Lean represents a completely new way of managing the organization.
How do you establish a Lean culture?
A Lean culture is established in two parts:
Part 1 - Developing a cultural framework
A Lean cultural framework is developed and sets the boundaries for a positive culture by:
1) Establishing "Guiding Principles" or "Behavioral Expectations" for the entire organization
2) Linking HR policies and procedures to the Behavioral Expectations and the Lean vision and implementation
3) Establishing organizational leadership and management principles
An excellent example of behavioral expectations is shown below:
As noted, the Leadership Team can jump-start the culture change process by issuing organizational 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.
Behavioral expectations will only produce culture change if they are modeled by the Leadership Team. Since the culture change process can take years, the Leadership Team must be committed to the guidelines as a new way of doing business.
With the behavioral expectations established, the next step in Part 1 is to connect these expectations and our Lean implementation plan to our Human Resources (HR) policies. We must revise our HR policies and people measures in the areas of:
to align with the new Lean culture.
Step 3 of Part 1 is a crucial step and is all about organizational leadership principles. How do we begin implementing culture change in our company? All successful and sustainable business change starts with top management (Leadership Team).
A new Lean culture will not develop unless the organization's Leadership Team is willing to model and be the examples of the new behaviors. As noted author Tom Peters states it; "your people will watch your feet, not your lips."
This leadership starts with culture but extends throughout the Lean Implementation. For example; when we start doing 5S activities in our organization, are we starting in the office with the Leadership Team offices?
The DuPont expression applies to all aspects of Lean. Remove safety and add quality, 5S, productivity, etc.
The pictures below are not examples of Leadership at the management/supervisory level:
Part 2 - Establishing a "people and team" based environment and filling in the Part 1 framework
NEW! Policy Deployment Certification Training
|Certified Lean Policy Deployment
Facilitator (CLPDF) Training
South Suburban College - Oak Forest Campus
Session Pre-requisites: Certified Lean Facilitator, Lean Master Facilitator, SME certification, Maryland World Class Consortia certification, or equivalent.
Purpose of Session: To give participants the skills and abilities to be able to:
1) Demonstrate to their organizations the need for Policy Deployment
2) Facilitate their organization through the complete 10 Step Policy Deployment process
Materials Required for the Session: A list of your company's current/next fiscal year top-level business goals (real or disguised).
- September 27th through October 1st (5 Days - 8 am to 5 pm each day)
- Location: South Suburban College, Oak Forest, Illinois Campus (South of O'Hare airport)
- Maximum of 12 participants
- At the end of this week of training, participants receive a South Suburban College certificate with 37.5 contact hours of training, which the individual may be eligible to apply for professional CEUs.
- Session facilitator - Vince Fayad
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
- Thoroughly understand the need for his/her organization to do Policy Deployment if they wish to fully utilize Lean's potential to improve his/her organization and become World Class.
- Present Policy Deployment in a convincing fashion to his/her organization's Leadership Team.
- Facilitate and Lead his/her organization through the 10 Step process so that a business plan can be developed that meets the business objectives/goals of the organization.
- Follow-up on the process and the Monthly Business Reviews to ensure that Lean and Policy Deployment are the "system" by which his/her organization runs its business.
To Register for this session, please contact:
Business & Career Institute
South Suburban College 58 W. 162nd Street
South Holland, IL 60473
708.596.2000 ext. 2556
"Our mission is to Serve our Students and the Community through lifelong learning."