Subscribe to My Feed   Follow Me On Twitter   Join Me On LinkedIn   Friend Me On Facebook

There is No “I” in “Team” Especially with Lean

When many people think about implementing lean or working within a lean environment, one of the main objectives that probably comes to mind is the goal towards an elimination in waste. After all, that is one of the core concepts of the lean mindset. However, there is also something else that is very important regarding the true success of lean and that is the ability for employees and upper management to work together as a team. The task of relinquishing titles and vertical positional importance in order to work towards a greater lean mindset can be daunting, but is imperative for lean success. The truth is that without dedication and teamwork, the implementation of lean will fail. Just as the players on basketball and hockey teams work together to achieve success, employees in lean manufacturing need to work as a team for success as well. Even though there are team leaders in lean, the essential goal is to work together to make the greatest impact. There is no “I” in “Team.”

Tips for Lean Teambuilding

There are many different tips that contribute towards the creation of organized and effective teams; however, here we will outline a few tips for the greatest impact. One of the best assets of a smoothly running team is to have open lines of communication. Open communication needs to be highly valued so all team members are heard and feel comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas. Even though the job of a team leader may be to help “guide” the team, it is also important for the team leader to promote flourishing conversations regarding possible improvements. One of the best untapped resources in helping to identify areas in need of lean assessment or streamlining are the actual employees who work each day with the processes in place. Another essential component for efficient teambuilding is commitment. In order for lean to be truly successful, everyone needs to be on board, meaning that everyone needs to be informed, aware, involved, and appreciated. Employees should be empowered to be a part of the “we” in teamwork to feel a genuine commitment towards a goal. Furthermore, clear expectations are also a vital component of teambuilding. Employees need to be aware of the objectives and expectations in place so there is a clear demarcation regarding the purpose and intent. A team without clear expectations, is like a boat traveling through uncharted ocean waters without a compass, it is very easy to lose sight of the goal and essentially become lost.

Eliminating Waste: Making Lean Teams a Reality

Besides a lack of teamwork, one of the most common pitfalls towards achieving lean is the confusion between “eliminating waste” and “reducing waste.” Simply reducing waste will not lead to a truly successful lean business; the key is to actually eliminate waste. As a team, employees should share open lines of communication and be challenged to seek out areas for waste elimination, not just waste reduction. Embracing lean concepts and practices does not have to be difficult as it may seem. As long as there is a dedication to change and teamwork, lean teams can be a reality!

Comments are closed.