Leading a Lean Transformation Part II

Complex_Tree_Fotolia_19993988_XSIn part I of Leading a Lean Transformation we explored the business results you can get by doing a Lean Transformation.  It’s not uncommon to see successful Lean Transformations improve a business by 30%.  However the success rate is very low.  Over 70% of change efforts fail the first time around and companies who try Lean report that 2% get the results they expected.  In the spirit of Lean we’ll first explore are the root causes of why it fails.


Culture culture chartcan be a bit loose and the way we are going to define it is by the way information flows in an organization.  The chart on the left shows you the four basic information flow styles and how they are run.  The major item to note is that for a Lean Transformation to be successful the company needs to have a collaborative and or hero based culture.  If they don’t then the chances of success go down dramatically.  For more information on how culture affects a Lean Transformation watch our 40 min webinar.

Collaborative cultures work together and information flows freely among everyone and everything is shared openly.  In a hero based culture all information is filtered through a few “heroes” of the organization that are the ones that are looked to for decisions and action.  You get a funnel effect with information.  In a political culture information is only shared if it benefits the individual that holds the information.  You can even have misinformation shared in this type of culture.  In a command and control culture you have one or just a couple of people at the top who control all the information and decision making.

The reason why you need a collaborative or a hero based culture is that you are learning when you are doing Lean and the other two environments are not learning environments.  What type of culture is your organization?  Next we’ll explore other factors like momentum and how to assess where to start a Lean initiative.  Here are some related posts that you might enjoy:

How to Influence Using Conversation
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Lean Six Sigma and Innovation

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