My interview on the Iowa Lean Consortium Radio Network

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 02-27-18

Last year I was invited to be a guest on the Iowa Lean Consortium Radio Network Podcast with host Steve Wilson.

The Iowa Lean Consortium is a dynamic, member-driven, non-profit dedicated to advancing lean in all sectors of the economy . Driven by members needs, the ILC provides the philosophy, tools, and techniques to meet today’s business challenges.

 I have had the pleasure of speaking at two of their events and greatly respect the work they are doing in Iowa and beyond.

The ILC Radio Network serves as a platform for communicating the best and brightest strategies, methods, and tools for all those on the journey of lean and operational excellence.

In my interview, Steve and I talked about lean, leadership and culture.  I shared that lean is accepting that you always have more to learn, and is about more than tools; lean is about behavior.  Just because you have or even use some “lean tools” it does not mean your organization is lean.  Tools do matter but they are not what determines if a culture or organization has embraced lean as a way of doing business.    What determines if an organization is lean or not is how they think and act every day – from the top to the bottom of the org chart.  

Anyone, regardless of their place on the org chart can develop and embrace a personal lean operating system.   Leadership engagement is key – we used to say that we just need leadership buy-in but we now know that leadership engagement is critical to building a lean operating system within an organization.  Leadership must engage in active and effective problem solving, leadership must use the tools the organization has agreed to use and everyone must be able to see leaders practicing lean.  

In the interview I give some specific examples of how I saw this work well in an organization – where a leader embraced being a role model and took specific action to allow his team to see him using active and effective problem solving techniques.

We closed the interview by discussing the 5 Frequencies: A model for leadership developed by MG Strategies.

You can listen to the podcast here  

I talked some about the Lean Culture Diagnostic we developed and you can find more information about that here.