One of the key elements for a successful cultural transformation from traditional to lean or continuous improvement is to change behaviors and beliefs. The challenge is huge, in part because those behaviors and beliefs have been part of the company for a long time.
The cultural transformation from traditional to lean
The company culture is the set of shared attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. Daily activities like decision making are influenced by the culture. Further, the way people act, the values they shared, and how they respond to certain situations. Also, it includes how people interact with each other and the work environment. Things like the company vision, mission, and goals are the face of the culture.
In other words, culture determines or influences everything that happens in the business. Therefore, to change practices it is necessary to transform the way people think and act. The face of the company, the vision, mission, and goals have to reflect those new ways. For instance, the shared values and leadership styles should mirror the new beliefs. Lean thinking is what will drive those new behaviors.
Achieve cultural transformation using lean thinking
The shift from traditional to continuous improvement or lean is one of the most challenging things during the cultural transformation. Put simply, it is easier to change processes than people’s minds. However, the only way to achieve the change is by adopting a new way to think and act.
People will learn new ways to approach the same problems and situations. The first change is to learn how to identify value from the customer lenses. The idea of thinking about how every action can affect the customer is mind blowing for many people. However, once they know why, it makes sense. The business goal is to provide the customer with the highest quality, in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest possible cost. Then, focusing our actions on quality, cost, and delivery is the right way to conduct business.
The focus of the entire transformation is the people, your team. A fundamental part is to care more about people’s motivations, viewpoints, and how to develop their skills. Some of those skills include problem-solving, how to identify non-value-add steps, and the use of PDCA for improvements. When you take care of your team, they take care of your customers. And by doing that, your business performance improves.
People’s Development is fundamental
One of the most important steps in the cultural transformation roadmap is to design the programs for the people’s development. Respect for humanity is at the core of lean thinking. For that reason, this part of the transformation is fundamental for its success.
Using a hands-on approach, the leaders will teach their teams how to use lean thinking. Use every learning opportunity to develop new skills. As a result, a team member would learn ways to solve problems and improve their work. One step at a time, leaders will guide their groups to reach their potential. They do that by giving them a purpose and showing how their work is tied to the company’s success. Also, by providing performance and development plans to help them grow.
Start with Why
Do you want to start your transformation journey with the right foot? Then, start explaining why. People need to know the reasons for such an undertaking. Be honest, and clear about the motives and expectations. Also, explain what is in it for them? When you explain the new behaviors and way to do things, many will look at you with skepticism. But also, many more will feel hope and will give it a try. Make that try counts do what you say you would. As a business owner or top leader, your job is to model those behaviors and show the new ways to do business.