How Do You Balance Leading and Driving Results?


LeanCor Leadership Principle: 

Results and Process Orientation – Balance leading with determination to achieve results while aiming to improve processes. Support a clear target deployment process and a structured process improvement methodology. Plan: Do: Check: Adjust.

As leaders we must hold our teams accountable to process improvement and business results.  As we know, problems are associated with processes.  Therefore, to create a lean problem solving culture, the lean leader needs to teach others to be process thinkers.         

What is a process?

A process is a systematic series of actions directed to some end.  It is made up of several elements:  Suppliers, Inputs, Procedures, Timing, Outputs, Measures and Customers.  You’ll often hear us talk about Y is a function of x, Y = f(x).  In our business it’s about taking inputs and transforming them into outputs that our customer will see value in.  How well we do this determines how well our organization performs.


Inputs and Outputs: A critical concept

In everything we do at LeanCor we must be able to articulate the inputs that generate an output.   Our outputs should be aligned to our business results, or customer value proposition and should have clear targets set and measured.  In order for us to better problem solve around gaps in our output metrics we must know what inputs are driving that customer output up or down.

Think through the below, what are the inputs to making a hamburger?  If your desired output is a nice medium rare cheese burger, what inputs would you need?


So, what if we wanted to make our hamburger rarer, what inputs would change? Maybe, cooking time?  The same applies to lean logistics.  If we are measuring the right inputs we can easily affect the output by problem solving or improving the inputs. 

Teams should focus on daily and weekly monitoring of the critical inputs.  If we see a gap in an input, team members should be directed towards problem solving.  If we are actively improving inputs our outputs we’ll start improving, it’s a mathematical fact.  This type of repetitive problem solving is called P-D-C-A.

It’s Tool Time: Process Map

A process map is a visual representation of a process that transforms a set of inputs and outputs.  It provides an overview of the process.  It can help you improve team communication, facilitate process changes, identify inter-relationships and can often help you find hidden factories.  A hidden factory is undocumented work being completed to allow the work to be done. Process maps can be a great way to visually see all the inputs that are affecting your output!


What kind of inputs do your teams measure?  How do these affect the output to our customer?  Are you actively driving improvement in your inputs, or only “talking” about outputs?


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Posted by LeanCor Training and Education

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LeanCor Training and Education delivers proven methodologies for individuals and groups to conveniently advance themselves and their organizations. With public and private offerings for the associate to executive levels, our curriculum and stories are rooted in our team’s collective operational and corporate experience. Training can be delivered in online, virtual, or classroom settings.

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