Wanted: Inspired Leaders, Engaged Employees


IndustryWeek : Editor's Page:

A recent Conference Board survey shows:

* 40% of workers feel disconnected from their employers.
* two out of every three workers do not identify with or feel motivated to drive their employer's business objectives.
* 25% of employees are just ‘showing up to collect a paycheck.'”

When thinking about your own lean initiatives, don't discount the power of leadership. Can you use lean thinking to help workers feel connected by sharing goals that management and workers are all striving for? By defining clear goals in safety, quality, delivery, and cost, can that help build teamwork and a feeling of connectedness to the company? You'll go much further by making sure that lean isn't something you're “doing to” the employees but, rather, something you're “doing with” them.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. This is a very thought-provoking post: essentially, it raises the possibility of aligning workers directly with business goals, without filtering through layers of management.

    You would no longer have to worry about a lack of leadership in management, because management wouldn’t be driving; the employees would be driving. Nor would apathy among employees be a problem, for much the same reason.

    But how do you do it?

  2. Good question. I am currently researching just that. The findings have made me believe it is possible to create leaderless organizations that outperform most “traditional” organizations. I will shortly start a blog on the subject.




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