What I've Learned About Leadership From My CEO

Robert_Lean_LeadershipI consider myself a very lucky young professional. I have the opportunity to work with smart, innovative and inspiring colleagues at LeanCor – among them our CEO, Robert Martichenko, who recently received the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ (CSCMP) 2015 Distinguished Service Award (DSA). He will be presented with the prestigious supply chain award during the Opening General Session at the annual CSCMP Conference in San Diego this September.

How did he get there?  By building and leading a strong team. Here are the most important things I've learned from Robert about great leadership:

  •  Show respect to everyone you encounter. Good leaders understand lean guiding principles and lead with respect to others. Good leaders want to create a learning culture based on creating customer value at the lowest possible total cost. They create safe work environments both physically and emotionally – workplaces where team members feel empowered to bring up problems rather than hiding them out of fear for their job. They understand the customer’s requirements and practices, and “Go and See” to ensure the team is creating value and eliminating waste. They listen and are empathetic and support all team members in continuous improvement.
  • Understand your organization’s purpose. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else” – Lawrence J. Peter. A leader knows, shows and improves the value provided to the customer. He/She knows the roles and responsibilities of all team members and shows people how they are important to the mission. He/She creates a learning culture by asking, "why" and not “who." 

Here's my CEO talking about the lean culture:

  • Value people and what each person brings to the table. Great leaders understand and believe in the intrinsic value of all people, build effective teams, and do, teach, coach and mentor. They understand and appreciate the mental models of all people. They appreciate resistance as a teaching opportunity.
  • Value process as means for stability. Great leaders understand that process entropy happens and have a deep understanding of the current state and vision of the future state. They focus on creating stability through lean principles. They are highly collaborative and participative as they cascade vision to strategy to tactics. They drive process discipline through PDCA.
  • Engage in problem solving. Great leaders make problems visible and solve problems in real time in order to continuously improve and get better every day.  They create a fun, dynamic and fearless working environment by never being satisfied with the current state.  Great leaders talk to people about their work and support people in their problem solving.
  • Balance process and results. Most importantly, great leaders believe in a healthy balance between people, process and results.  They have a target deployment process and recognize that achieving goals is a function of people and process improvement.

By: Susie Sterling, Director of Supply Chain Solutions at LeanCor


Learn more about Lean Leadership in Robert's Shingo Award-winning book, PEOPLE: A leader's day to day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations.

 Purchase the PEOPLE Book Now


Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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