Much has been written explaining “What is Lean?” or similar articles. But, little has been said describing what a Lean Practitioner is like. Regardless of where lean thinking is applied: lean practitioners in software, in lean startups, manufacturing, healthcare, and others – what are they like?
Here’s my stab at that description.
Lean Thinkers and Lean Practitioners are High-Yield, Low-Maintenance people.
They are usually low-profile, but they go about doing good, adding and multiplying value in a quiet and humble way, often deflecting credit to their team members and others.
Very credible and skilled.
But, they are often passionate, often teaching and coaching others with conviction and drive and personal interest. They also do the right thing, sometimes with permission and concensus, sometimes without permission but with full accountability.
They are leaders; sometimes not in a formal role or function of a “leader”, but they lead and serve those around them, thereby earning high levels of trust and influence.
They care. They are sincere. Down-to-Earth.
Imperfect human beings and they know it and don’t hide it. But they try.
Did I Just Describe Your Grandpa?
In speaking with a friend about this, he commented “I think we just described my Grandpa.”
Yeah, and that’s okay.
You Can Tell Who is Phony
It’s true. Test what I describe above against your experience. More often than not, you’ll see that the “true” practitioners of lean thinking fit the description above well; but, more often than not, those who don’t are most likely phony.
It Your Turn
How would you describe the lean thinkers and practitioners that you associate with? Do you agree or disagree with what I’m claiming? Does it matter?
Feel free to disagree. Share what’s on your mind.