HOW TO BUILD A CULTURE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT?
EMPOWER PEOPLE TO DEVELOP A CULTURE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
BUILD OWNERSHIP FOR YOUR WORK PROCESS
WE ENGAGE THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION
Lean thinking is our guiding principle to build the mind set in every employee to clearly see the
problems in their work processes. Subsequently we teach and learn how to analyze and
improve that work process.
THROUGH CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT OBSTACLES
BECOME CHALLENGES AND VISION BECOMES REALITY
Foremost Lean Thinking is about teaching all employees how to learn rather than telling them what to do: Lean thinking’s aim is to develop each person’s autonomy in problem solving by supporting them in their continuous improvement activities. This holds for the people at the bench as much as for the executives at the top. By doing so the core value of respect for people is embodied throughout the Lean philosophy. All the Lean tools and techniques are secondary to the “teaching how to learn” mind set.
This is a radical break from Taylorism where a group of specialists will devise the “one-best-way” and line management will be tasked to enforce it. By contrast, Lean Thinking is taught to managers so that they teach their own direct reports to think Lean and reduce overburden, unneeded variation and waste by working more closely with their teams and across functional boundaries.
HARD ON THE PROCESS, SOFT ON THE PEOPLE
95% of our problems can be solved by improving our work processes. Problems that occur in our work are a mere indications of a flaw in the process and must therefore be taken as a starting point for process improvement. Often times work processes are so complex that it is very likely that mistakes are made. How can we prevent these mistakes from happening in the future?
Blaming a person for making that mistake or installing extra checks may only temporarily help to prevent mistakes. Instead improving the work process itself to prevent future mistakes will generate long lasting improvements and bring the organization forward. And who is the person best fit to detect these flaws and see the opportunities for improvement? That is and should foremost be the person who is doing the work.
Our brain is our most powerful organ, capable of accomplishing great things we can only start to imagine. However, next to being our ally, our brain can also be our enemy and play tricks on us that prevents us from seeing clearly. Understanding how our brain functions and taking those brain rules into account facilitates us to accomplishing the changes what we set out to achieve.
Our evolutionary older brain structures have evolved into fast thinking machines. Our intuition is part of that system. This type of thinking is fast and has a can do feel to it. No lengthy contemplation but a get into action a.s.a.p. mentality. The evolutionary more recently evolved pre-frontal brain structures on the other hand are the seat of analysis, deduction and reason, a much slower type of thinking. Lean thinking builds slow thinking processes. In the everyday life the ancient structures are constantly on the lure to jeopardize the slow analytical thought processes of the pre-frontal areas and persuade us to jump to conclusions all to often. Neuroscientific understanding of how our brain functions thus deepens our understanding of how people think and helps us to develop Lean Thinking in all of us.
Developing a culture of continuous improvement means changing the behavior of people. Currently within the field of psychology much is known about behavioral change and the psychological processes involved. The psychology of motivation, stress control, learning and cognitive dissonance all play an important role in the development of a Lean culture. Through our understanding of these processes we have come to understand the laws of behavioral change. We can now apply these laws in such a way that it can assist us in making the behavioral changes needed to develop a culture of continuous improvement.