In my LinkedIn and Lean-Master.com articles I have described the numerous differences between a Lean Thinking and a Traditionally Thinking Organisation. However, if I had to choose just one thing that I believe truly differentiates the two it would be Stamina, the ability to keep going long-term, even when it becomes difficult or there are other interesting alternatives to seduce the Leadership.
It is inevitable that there will be at least one point, and possibly multiple points, in every Lean Leader’s stewardship of their Business’ Transformation when this challenge will present itself. Whatever the reason may be; for example, a change of leadership, external factors such as market changes or new ownership; the Organisation will either actively or passively begin to move away from the Lean Deployment approach and it is the duty of the Lean Leader to prevent this from happening.
This is a tough situation to be in and many people capitulate in this situation, either shrinking back into the new role that the shift of focus creates, moving into a new role in the organisation or leaving to pastures new. This is understandable, as it will be lonely to stand and fight this organisational loss of strategic focus when it feels like the whole of the organisation is moving away from them. Nevertheless, this is when the Lean Leader must take up their position as a leader of change, this seemingly lone crusader for Lean Thinking struggling against the reemergence of traditional short-term thinking in the enterprise.
However, it is unlikely that the Lean Leader is completely alone and, if they persist in Leading with Lean and the Leadership styles required, they will be able to form, at a minimum, a band of Lean resistance fighters across the business. This stamina, the unwillingness to stop doing what is right for the organisation in the face of short-term initiatives and programs, is what will ensure that the organisation’s Lean Transformation prospers and will assure the longevity required to gain the World-Class performance that is sought.
"I aim to promote the global sharing of best practices in the application of Lean Thinking."