As you facilitate lean improvement events, I hope the distillation from a few recent experiences below benefit you as they have me
1) Other than shaping the skeleton of the event with leaders and teaching the principles of lean, speak rarely. Set up the experience, and the experience teaches the team: they teach each other the current state; they simulate improvement, and struggle with the principles in action – deciphering how they might apply to their reality.
2) Intervene with the group only when they are absolutely stuck from moving forward toward some improvement they want to try.
3) If they are stuck, share subtle, high level examples of how the principles might apply, and then let them go back to grappling with the problem.
4) Even if they want to try something that is not the “best option” in relation to the lean principles – that’s okay – when they try it, they will see for themselves.
5) When you teach and intervene – never water down the principles due to a perception of the magnitude of the change for the team or any other reason. The principles never change, and the wisdom of them to the problem the team is trying to solve will become apparent as they wrestle with it.
6) Don’t argue or try to convince in a conference room. Don’t get angry, frustrated, or desperate. There will be a high deal of tension as the chasm between the current state and the lean principles becomes clear. This will bring out various emotions from the team. We must trust that the principles will prove themselves as the team improves their process – and therefore not feel the ownership of making sure all questions are answered or misperceptions corrected.
If you try these, please share the results!
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