Leaders: Convinced or Not Convinced?

People_Book_Cover_Shingo_2013-1I participated in a book club with a group of healthcare continuous improvement leaders. They are studying the book I co-wrote - PEOPLE: a leader's day-to-day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations. An invite like this is a great boost for the ego, not to mention amazing dialogue with smart, interesting and caring people...the best kind.

One question was “how do you talk to senior leaders to get support for improvement initiatives?”

It depends.

It depends on whether the leader is convinced as to the value of lean thinking.

Where the leader is already convinced, we need to approach the conversation with project management discipline. We need to visually show the current state, future state and road map to close the gap.

Where the leader is not convinced, we need to work on understanding why. This requires us to put ourselves in their shoes. Why should they care ? What are their own biases and experiences that have led to their view of the world?

Then, we need to take the discussion head on, by asking: "I get the sense you are not convinced in the value of the improvement work we are doing. Is this correct ? And if so, can we talk about the gaps you see so we can plan an aligned approach?"

It’s important to understand where a leader fits in the “convinced scale.”


Posted by Robert Martichenko

blog author

Robert is CEO of LeanCor Supply Chain Group. He is also a speaker and award-winning author of several business books - including "Discovering Hidden Profit" and his first novel - "Drift and Hum." Robert has spent over 25 years learning and implementing lean and operational excellence with a focus on end-to-end supply chain management across a wide array of industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and an MBA.

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Lessons in Lean : Lessons in Leadership - The Blog

There is no question that building an organizational culture of continuous improvement is a progressive evolution that takes time. In this blog, Robert Martichenko discusses his lessons learned while building these cultures in our new world of constant disruption - sharing key knowledge that will lead today’s business leaders down the path toward discovering hidden profit. 

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