LEAN 2.0: FASTER, BETTER, PERMANENT – part 1
NEWSFLASH: The Lean that we all grew up with came to us completely wrong. Messengers Jones and Womack not only mislabeled it, but misinterpreted it too. In their roles as observer-reporters, they described what they saw through the old management paradigm and pretty much interpreted and documented everything from that perspective. They did that really well and Lean Thinking became the “go-to manual” as a result. But it wasn’t the right thing, so they pretty much missed the engine of Toyota’s management system.
The result? 30+ years of misfires from nearly all corners of the earth, as leaders and consultants took what Jones and Womack observed and tried to implement it. And it wasn’t just their book that perpetuated the wrong thing – Shingijutsu, the consulting company documented in Lean Thinking, continued to train using kaizen blitzes that reinforced the use of tools and the fast cost-cutting results.
And as is usually the case in our innovative world, many iterations and derivatives sprang up, like Lean Six Sigma, Operational Excellence, and a host of other “programs.” In the absence of successful long term implementations, people naturally tried to fill the holes that were causing these poor results. But here’s the real issue:
None of these iterations is even on the same logical level as the shift that Lean represents.
It’s also why Lean wasn’t successful in those 30+ years – it was applied on the wrong logical level, which didn’t yield any change at the top. Old school management, where command and control in various intensities is the norm, uses an aberrant version of “lean as cost cutter,” Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence, at a lesser logical level than what Lean really represents. They use them at the skill and behavior levels, thinking they can deploy these activities to get results without changing their own thinking. So wrong model (Lean Thinking) plus wrong logical level equals wrong results, and in this case 30+ years of failure.
Enter Lean 2.0: Right model plus right logical level AND an implementation methodology created by actual doers, not observer-reporters. The right model means an accurate description of the thinking behind Toyota, and the engine they use to drive that thinking. In this case, Steve Spear and Mike Rother, two modeling experts, have skillfully documented both. And the right logical level? That would be the IDENTITY and BELIEF level. Lean 2.0 isn’t the tools at all – tools that require skills and aim to change behaviors. No, Lean 2.0 is the brain and the lever working in unison to insure . . . (to be cont’d in Part II)