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What is Lean Leadership?

Lean leadership 2.0 & Breakthrough Performance - in partnership with 12Mprove

Awareness, Opportunity and Action


Working only on processes, skills and organizational management is insufficient in causing sustainable and lasting change in an organization.  A lasting change needs to come from and through Lean leadership, so that both perceptions and behaviours (healthy habits) are embed in the project/department or organization, hence the birth of Lean Leadership 2.0. 

Habits are built up over time and almost become part of who we are. 40 years ago it was normal to drive without wearing a seatbelt. Now for most people it is an embedded habit. Some habits we have are productive, others less so and in the worst cases are completely counter productive to the individual and groups with which they work. In order to break old habits and create new ones, awareness is a starting point but not enough. The opportunity to experiment with new habits needs to be available and then commitment to action from the individual and support from the Leadership is then possible. Central to this theme is the link between perception and action. If you don't perceive any danger in driving without a seatbelt then why buckle up? Perception has all the power. Trying to change actions (behaviors) and not dealing with how people see the world (perception) - will never work.  Changing action at the level of action never sustains. 

Our Lean 2.0 Leadership approach provides the opportunity for real continuous improvement and performance breakthroughs by co-ordinating a top down and bottom up lean mind-set and new healthy behaviours.  Leaders will produce breakthroughs in performance while at the same time elevating their levels of ownership, engagement and collaboration towards their lean teams. What we mean, in this case, by a breakthrough is simply a result or a series of results that are not currently foreseeable. A breakthrough therefore involves the development of new habits, new skills and new ways of working together.

When awareness is raised and perception is altered, the world occurs differently for people. This is the first step in any behaviour change process. Being told of the need to change is insufficient. Seeing the value in changing is insufficient. Wanting to change is the key. Only then is real and sustainable change possible.

Man at his Desk
Focused Office Workers
Martial Arts with Samurai Swords

Today lean is a household name in many companies and over time lean has proven to be a valuable bottom up approach to improve effectiveness and efficiencies across organizations. However, time and time again lean seems to fail the moment the lean consultant leaves the building.  Why is that? Research has shown that two main reasons are the cause of this outcome.  The first being leadership and the second being culture.  As many of us know 70% of what the leadership says and then does influences the workforce in the way they perceiving and act on the work floor. One could say that culture is a condition set in the behaviours (Habits) of the company.

Student in Library

Our key deliverables are:

  • Establish a foundation for shifting a culture and a breakthrough in performance, by defining clear deliverables, stage gates and behaviours that support the lean approach and methodologies.  

Leadership is enabled with:

  • A clear understanding of how and why their behaviour is the key to unlocking the potential of people around them

  • A framework for the skills required to create constructive habits 

  • A process for setting and realising breakthrough targets and the motivation to inspire others to fulfil on them

  • A clear methodology to manage the climate, behaviours and risks/pitfalls.

  • Skills and capabilities in the areas of engagement, resolving bottlenecks/breakdowns and performance issues.

  • An evaluation and monitoring tool (Pulse). Providing leadership with a Lean people dashboard.

  • A common language for performance and empowerment

  • An access to understanding how their own preferred ways of thinking and communicating and how to adapt their methods to get the nest out of others

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