Gary Peterson, EVP for supply chain and production at The O.C. Tanner Company. "We've made a ton of mistakes" with our Lean journey, he began:
Most of the mistakes we've made centered on our people. We implemented tools and imposed them on our people. They worked, but people hated it. We hired "a cop" to enforce use of the tools. "That should have made it obvious that we were doing something wrong!"
The fundamental principle has to be respect for people, he noted. He suggested that there are four things that are critical for getting people involved:
(1) Setting a clear vision: Establishing an understanding of True North (an aspirational vision of what might be achieved--but paradoxically might be unlikely ever to be achieved), provide free flowing information, engage in true transparency. "By the way," he noted, "Things somehow move from aspirational to the way things are!"
(2) Providing a powerful reason for engagement. Don't use, "If we don't do this we may go out of business." Focus on the purpose of the organization, the intrinsic reasons that make daily work meaningful and create a sense of pride. (By the way, check out his company's blog to get a sense of this.)
(3) Engaging in a thoughtful and good improvement methodology. Develop people for contribution, particularly helping people evolve into leadership roles that are supportive of the philosophy. "We want eveyone to become leaders." Minimize rules that control: Avoid systems that get in the way. "Don't act like you are cutting them loose and then have them drag a chain behind themselves." Hire well: Ensure that they believe in the elements of a living culture--safety, continuous improvement, trust, respect for others, we are all in this together, Arbinger principles (avoiding self-deception.)
(4) Inspiring a desire to continue to do it and stay engaged. Make it fun to learn and safe to venture into unknown territory. Above all, "Show me you value my efforts." Help people believe: "There is no secret ingredient."