Lean Corporate Mindset: What Does It Take?
So you’ve started to come to terms with the fact that you need to integrate lean thinking into your organization. That’s certainly a great thing, but it’s not something that you just snap your fingers and see the results – you’ll have to put some actual effort into it. Developing the right lean corporate mindset will take some time, but once you’re there, you’ll start seeing patterns that you didn’t suspect existed before. It’s a life-changing journey that will leave you much better prepared in the end.
An Attention to Detail
You’ll have to develop a strong attention to detail – there’s no way around that. Part of being a successful lean leader is the ability to spot minor issues in the organization and address them on a fundamental level. You’ll need to be able to tell when there are minor inconsistencies in the way certain things work, or when they deviate from their norms. This won’t always be immediately obvious, mind you – in some cases, you’ll have to spend a lot of time looking for the answers to those questions. But if you start paying attention to the small details that matter, you’re going to have an easier time seeing the big picture as well.
Constantly Looking Forward
Another part of being a good lean leader is the ability to constantly look forward in everything you do. This is easier said than done, mind you – it requires a fundamental change in the way you’re approaching problems in your work. Sometimes, leaders are inclined to keep doing things the same way because it’s worked without problems so far. And while that’s sometimes an appropriate approach, that’s not always the case. You’ll sometimes have to take the more difficult approach of implementing something new and risky.
Integrating New Improvements Rapidly
Which brings us to the next important point. You’ll need to develop the ability for integrating new solutions into your workflow quickly and effortlessly, with minimal hassle. Since you’ll constantly be dealing with new developments on the market, it makes sense to develop a sense for how they can be integrated into your work more easily. While each such project is unique and will require its own approach, there are some things that will be common factors from one to the next, and you’re going to start noticing those patterns sooner or later.
Learning from Past Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. But what truly separates competent leaders from the rest is their ability to learn from their own mistakes and integrate that knowledge into their future work. This requires the ability to take a critical look at your own results, which not everyone has – but it’s an important quality for any lean leader nevertheless. You’ll also have to develop some system for keeping track of those mistakes and organizing them in a way that allows you to easily go through your history and see what you’ve done in the past. Modern technology can make this quite easy, so it’s in your best interest to investigate how that’s done.
Exchanging Knowledge and Experience
Don’t forget that lean and Six Sigma were built to a large extent on the idea of constantly exchanging knowledge and experience between specialists in those fields. This means that you should do your best to contribute to that system as well. Pay attention to the needs of other organizations, and try to be in constant dialog with them. You never know when someone might propose something that you’ve never thought of before, completely changing your perspective on your current work.
On that note, use the internet to its full potential as well. It’s full of useful resources that can come in great handy when you want to get up to speed with the latest developments in the fields of lean and Six Sigma. It also allows you to contribute your own knowledge and easily exchange ideas with others.
The main thing about being a successful lean leader is the motivation to constantly move forward and explore new grounds. This is something that every leader should have, sure – but when it comes to lean, it’s a fundamental requirement to implementing lean principles in your organization’s workflow in the first place. And you should start your journey in educating yourself on that topic as early as possible.