Lack of Leadership Support? You won’t want to hear this, but…

By Dwayne Butcher, VP, Lean Frontiers, Inc.

It’s guaranteed. At any Summit, on any webinar, or at any workshop, I’ll hear, “How can I get executive leadership involved in lean?” Let me cut to the chase… the chances are that you can’t and you won’t.

This is deflating for most everyone I talk to. For good reason, I guess. But there are few choices. Accept it or look for a new job. Think about it… your executive leader is an executive leader because he or she succeeded along the way. And they’re going to consider a completely new business model? Not likely.

Sounds bleak, but there IS one thing you can control… YOUR own learning journey. There’s two advantages to this. The first made sense when I suggested it years ago, and the second became clear to me only years later.

1) Putting the principles and practices of lean thinking into application in your immediate area of influence will make your work more interesting. Experimenting, failing, learning, and experimenting again as you iterate toward improved processes is rewarding, whether you have leadership support or not. And all the better if you can get others around you doing the same.

2) What took me years to realize is exactly what practicing point #1 will lead to… YOU may very well be executive leadership one day and the years of practicing lean thinking will be immensely useful. I’ve now seen this over and over again. In fact, a conversation just last week with the President of a mid-size manufacturing firm, “I vowed that if I ever got into a leadership position, I would drive lean from the top.” And he is. He finally got what he wanted. Executive support for lean throughout the organization.

So, get busy learning. It’s the only thing you can control and you might just be in a position that all that learning will come in handy as you lead an organization in the future. Happy learning!


PS. Throughout your journey, don’t keep what you’re learning to yourself. Lean Frontiers provides many opportunities for you to share what you’re learning, get feedback from your peers, and push you further; faster than in isolation. Let us know and perhaps your story would fit on the agenda at the Kata Summit, TWI Summit, Lean Accounting & Management Summit, Lean HR & People Development Summit, Lean Coaching Summit, TWI & Kata Summit Europe, or Lean Product & Process Development Exchange. Use this form to let us know you’d like to speak.

PPS. If you HAVE found a way to get your leadership engaged, let me know! I’ve got a few thousand people who would love to learn what you did. Email me!

Who Should Attend?

  • CEO and team
  • CFO, Finance, Controllers, and their teams
  • Boards of Directors
  • Plant/site Operations
  • Lean and Continuous Improvement Champions
  • Anyone supporting lean: HR, Product Development, Supply Chain, IT, Sales/Marketing

See Lean Accounting & Management Summit for details.

Who Should Attend?

  • The Summit is designed by HR practitioners for HR practitioners. This is THE place for HR professionals to learn lean AND their role in supporting it.
  • Not in HR? That’s OK! HR needs allies in operations, CI, and senior management throughout the organization, so join us!

See Lean HR & People Development Summit for details.

Share via: