Building Behaviors Bedrock of Lean Success [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 02-13-14

For my latest column, I set out to write about culture change. I barely got through the introduction and realized I’m already out of room. Such is the restriction of a 1-page column. So, the introduction became the column.

You can read the latest installment of Lessons from the Road, and here is an excerpt, part of my storytelling to make a point about the importance of principles and behaviors:

The system design was fine, but it was only truly understood by a few in the plant. People were only taught the procedures of the system, as was I, during the system introduction. People knew what following the procedure meant, and when encouraged or forced, their compliance with the system increased. But because they weren’t taught the thinking behind the system, any deviation from those procedures seemed trivial to them. But the consequences were often dramatic.

What I didn’t understand at the time was that a pull system is in many ways fragile by design. Small problems and deviations result in problems, albeit small ones. This is by design, making small problems visible so that they can be fixed.

The next installment will focus on tactics to create that culture change. And, I’m always interested in other ideas that you all have for my topics, so comment or email me your quetsions and ideas.


  • If you get the base fixed (the culture and behavior) that will in the end drive the rest of the changes you need.

    Robert Drescher March 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm