Mere Mortal Managers

“Preparation” (Page 2 of 5)

Communicate Your Vision

Publish it, talk about it, get your staff talking about it, create posters about it, roll your sleeves up and become part of it. Simply put, do whatever you need to do so there can be no misunderstanding regarding your commitment to implementing Lean and expecting your team’s success. It has been said “In Boldness is Greatness”. This is no time to be timid. Due to your position and legitimate authority, people will generally get behind you and follow if you will show them where you are going. Failing to communicate your vision can easily bring about your downfall as a leader resulting in a lackluster or even a failed Lean implementation. The importance of communicating your vision often and with real conviction can not be overemphasized. Do it often, do it everywhere you go, and do it with passion.

Delegate & Empower

Lean is best accomplished with the talents and enthusiasm of many people. Before you begin and during your Lean implementation you must get as many people directly involved in the process as possible. We like to encourage managers to first seek volunteers for various responsibilities and then make or encourage assignments according to needs and skills. Perhaps one of your maintenance supervisors would make a great TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) coordinator? Maybe a skilled, out-going operator with a good attitude could become a successful SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) champion? And so it goes. When you offer a little trust, encouragement, and accountability it will generally end in happy, motivated champions for your cause who will greatly multiply your effectiveness. It is also wise to never forget you have a stewardship to develop your people to someday replace you and other leaders as promotions, retirement, and other opportunities arise. Your Lean process will serve to illustrate where your talent base lies.

Prepare Support

As you are communicating your Lean vision, be sure to give fair warning and encouragement to your support staff at all levels. Very often improvement efforts require the support of maintenance crews, purchasing, facilities staff, and others. Prime your staff to go out of their way to help any improvement efforts succeed. Make sure they know you expect their complete cooperation. If priorities are difficult to ascertain, you will need to make the call. Take the time to personally follow-up on situations where support is withheld for Lean initiatives. This single step will raise expectations and follow-through where it most needed.