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Getting Leadership Buy-in
June 9, 2009 at 6:19 pm #73715
Hi all. Anybody have any experience at getting leadership to buy into LSS? I see lots of opportunities for improvement at my workplace, but the inertial of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is making it difficult to get consensus on project selection, and even more resistant to allowing kaizens to do their stuff. Any suggestions?
June 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm #73733
Hi Bruce – you are asking the eternal question about LSS (or any improvement initiative). Having done this in the DoD and with several government agecies and hospitals you definitely phase a “perfect storm” for cultural issues but it can be done.
– try starting small to show some quick wins
– where possible find one leader who is open to new things and make them your partner
– align the project to a business or operational objective the leader already has to address.
– spend a lot of time educating, making aware and finding opportunities for the early adopter to learn
– make the early adopter a “hero” by highlighting their success at every point you possibly can – hallways, meetings, newsletters, etc.
– once you get some early wins then “market” that to leaders who are other early adopters or leaders who are in toruble and missing on their objectives. They usually have a sense of urgency.
This will be a journey so try eating the elephant in small bites and be visual as much as you can as you bring them up the curve.
If you have questions please let me know. I’ll help as much as I can and phone calls are always free.
June 9, 2009 at 6:55 pm #73731
Thanks for the suggestions. I think it is going to be as much of a patience game as anything else.
June 26, 2009 at 6:36 pm #73729
All of Rons suggestions are text book. Good ideas but until you start holding leaderers and or leadership ACCOUNTABLE it will not work. I have been trying to do lean in the Air Force now for 5 years with little success. We have pockets of success here and there but nothing that would say WOW. LEAN is a leadership tool and until leadership starts to learn it, use it and live it it will not work. I will go back to work Monday and bash my head against the wall hoping that someone within my area of controle will get it.
June 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm #73727
I know what you mean. I was doing lean with the AF as well but had great success, mostly because I was able to get the leadership to see the value and ask for more. Results speak volumes normally. The hard part which is the part I’m dealing with now, is getting that initial understanding and buy-in.
July 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm #73725
Great discussion! Jay is right that many of the ideas shared above are not new. They are, like most things to do with lean, tactics and it may take more than one or may take one of 100’s of other tactics out there to get some traction. Dealing with leadership is a “contact sport” and there simply isn’t a script – even accounability is not a silver bullet as I’ve rarely seen LSS be the only thing on someone’s scorecard. At the end of the day you have to make it personal for the leadership, you have to clearly answer WIIFM for them and you have to position it as their success and an approach to solve their most critical/difficult problems and not about some roadmap/approach/idealology.
As practitioners we would love to have the perfect GE or Toyota leadership story that you’ve read about but in reality that happens less than 5% of the time – and even that might be high. On the flip side I have never seen a situation where this cannot be overcome – it is just a “bump in the road” on the journey. It is frustrating, maddening and sometime down right depressing but it is surmountable. Happy to talk you through your specific challenge if you have an interest – it’s the best way to learn from each other. Good Luck!
July 9, 2009 at 4:58 pm #73723
Well said Jay. Being a navy veteran and former TQL facilitator I appreciate the challenges. Someone gave me some great advice about 10 years ago when I was consulting at an automotive plant with a very strong UAW presence who bluntly told me they were going to work to get “this Japanese crap” to fail. He said “don’t let the their failures be your failures – you’ve got a war to fight yet and winning the battle at the expense of the war is a road to failure”. Sometimes – as in this automotive plant – small victories lead to winning the war.
July 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm #73721
Good to see that I am not alone in this situation. The discussion is really interesting. Right now, I am working with the strategic planning division to try to get the organization to focus on what they see as our biggest threats and weaknesses. If we can get some definable goals, that should help present opportunities to improve processes in support of them. That’s whats in it for them. Meanwhile, I’m going direct and engaging areas that I have observed are dragging us down.
July 10, 2009 at 12:05 am #73719
It’s a journey but the wins make it worthwhile.
FYI – attached is a Washington Post article that is timely regarding our discussion.
I think you will enjoy it.
July 10, 2009 at 12:49 pm #73717
Good article. Thank you again.
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