Driving Organizational Change with Lean Principles: Insights from Jamie Flinchbaugh – LeanBlog Podcast #10


Here is LeanBlog Podcast #10, again with Jamie Flinchbaugh, Founder of and Partner, co-author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean.

In this Podcast, we respond to an audio question from blog listener Bruce from Akron OH. The topic is how to educate your organization's leadership about lean and how to get them excited about your lean efforts.

If you're a regular Lean Blog reader, you should recognize Jamie as a valued contributor to the blog. Click here for a link to some of his blog posts. You can read more about his background here on Jamie's web site.

For earlier episodes, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.

LeanBlog Podcast #10 Show Notes and Approximate Timeline

  • 3:20 Question from Bruce, Akron OH… how do you educate the organization's leadership about lean, that it isn't about reducing headcount or just about 5S?
  • 4:20 Jamie asks about some people's perspectives on their leaders, are they “knuckleheads”? Do some people think that? (Not saying that Bruce did)
  • 5:05 The phrase “boss hater” from Jack Welch and GE
  • 5:50 Even if your boss is a “knucklehead”, it's unproductive to treat them as if they “can't” get it, you should care more about the lean outcomes
  • 6:26 “I can't move lean forward because my executive team doesn't have a clue” — some common finger pointing
  • 6:53 Does lean have to start at the top, as in “top down?” Jamie says it's not true, unless you really want to become Toyota. Very few companies start off by someone at the top saying we're going to become lean (didn't even happen at Toyota… Ohno was not sitting in the executive suite, he was in the machine shop).
  • 7:15 You can still work on lean within your span of control instead of complaining
  • 8:15 What about executive level training? Jamie says you need to connect lean to the business strategy and results
  • 12:15 Need to focus more on principles rather than tools
  • 12:30 For 5S, the execs need to know “why” and what good looks like, the executives need to understand more about driving the lean culture
  • 14:55 The reasons for doing lean depend on the context… are you in bankruptcy or do you have record profits?
  • 15:15 Lean is about changing how people do their work, not just the results
  • 16:30 How can you avoid the conflict that might come up if management wants to lay off employees after lean improvements?
  • 17:30 Jamie says “waste equals layoffs” — you often resort to layoffs just to survive
  • 18:50 If you have to do layoffs, take the hit upfront and educate people about the financials of the business
  • 23:00 When convincing leadership, find out what convinces them… examples from other companies, from results… and use that method

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.orgThe RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

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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.


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