“All Men Are Created Equal” – In Your Workplace?

DECLARATION-OF-INDEPENDENCE-PAINTINGAs we celebrate Independence Day in the United States (I prefer not to refer to it as the less meaningful “4th of July”), it’s a time to reflect on the ideals of American freedom.

The Declaration of Independence famously said  “all men are created equal.

As we practice kaizen, or continuous improvement, in the workplace, the same ideal applies. Successful Lean organizations have people “check their titles at the door” when participating in improvement activities.

For kaizen to really become part of the culture, we cannot rely on imperial bosses, the self-styled kings and queens of the workplace, to drive improvement through royal proclamation or to have all of the answers.

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However, Lean is not an “off with their heads” French Revolution that goes out of its way to disrespect those in a formal leadership position. Lean is both “bottom up” and “top down” as a form of management. All men (and women!) should have their voice heard in the workplace, as it should be their “unalienable right” to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of improvement. The pursuit of improvement brings pride in one’s work, which brings happiness.

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Happy Independence Day.

Creative Commons License photo credit: snowlepard

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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