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What is your 'culture' eating for breakfast?

It is said that "culture eats strategy for breakfast." Implying that a great strategy, a great plan starts off destined to fail. In the realm of organizational optimization, Lean principles have emerged as a beacon of efficiency and effectiveness. The promise of 'Lean' is tantalizing: streamlined processes, minimized waste, and maximized value. Yet, for many companies embarking on Lean transformations, success remains elusive. Why? Because they overlook a fundamental truth: culture is the linchpin of Lean success not the tools.

In a recent engagement I am supporting the realization of a behavior change by leadership is being met with a range of enthusiasm and support. From eager early adopters to steadfast skeptics, the spectrum of attitudes towards cultural change is vast. That is to be expected with any change. However, I want to reinforce the requirement to drive your transformation from principles and behaviors not just tools

Culture isn't just a buzzword; it's the DNA of an organization. And that DNA can lead to organ rejection when you just stuff Lean tools into an organization. You need culture to be supportive. We cannot simply layer Lean tools on top of existing business processes and expect magic to happen. True transformation requires more than just surface-level changes; it demands a fundamental shift in mindset and behavior. We must not only change what we do but also how we think.

There are two level that this shift neede to be experienced at to increase odds of a successful transformation.

One is leadership buy-in.

Two is respect for your people.

Executives must champion the Lean philosophy, embodying its principles in their actions and decisions. It changes their standard calendar, they need to devote time to these practices so they can get better themselves and show the importance to the rest of the company.

How a team engages with each other (questions, not answers, learning not deciding) and the openness of communication fosters trust and alignment. Employees need to understand not just the WHAT of Lean transformation, but also the WHY behind it. That is showing respect, not expecting buy-in "because you said so."

Furthermore, investing in employee development is crucial to success. Providing training and support equips staff be successful in the change. Communication, coaching and development are behaviors that build trust and enable the Lean transformation to succeed

There is a final ingredient for your transformation, patience.

This is felt in the cultural and behavior as well. Lagging indicators may not improve overnight. There may be challenges and setbacks. But by staying committed to the process and continuously iterating, organizations enable the first two behaviors and pave the way for lasting transformation.

Are you ready to pursue Operational Excellence through a Lean operating model? No need to be uncertain, with the right culture as your compass, the possibilities are limitless.

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