Blog

Leading Change an Inch Wide and a Mile Deep

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 01-27-10

This is our second video in our Cultural Transformation video series.

You can’t change everyone in your organization in a thorough manner in an instant of time. You have to chip away at cultural transformation piece by piece. So what’s better? Should you go an inch-wide and a mile-deep or go a mile-wide and an inch-deep? In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, we refer to the Lean Learning Laboratory, which is a process we created to help make that inch-wide, mile-deep approach work. Here my thoughts in this video:

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Please share some of your comments and your experiences.

Comments

  • Perfect message. Perfect timing for me.
    I am just about to dive in to cultural change here where I work.
    Thank you for the swimming lesson.

    Jim Fernandez January 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm
  • Perfect message. Perfect timing for me.
    I am just about to dive in to cultural change here where I work.
    Thank you for the swimming lesson.

    Jim Fernandez January 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm
  • Perfect message. Perfect timing for me.
    I am just about to dive in to cultural change here where I work.
    Thank you for the swimming lesson.

    Jim Fernandez January 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm
  • I glad it helped Jim.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh January 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm
  • I glad it helped Jim.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh January 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm
  • I glad it helped Jim.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh January 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm
  • Thanks for reminding us that planning for the inevitable backslides/errors is important. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but that it should be part of our plan.

    Daniel Markovitz January 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm
  • Thanks for reminding us that planning for the inevitable backslides/errors is important. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but that it should be part of our plan.

    Daniel Markovitz January 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm
  • Thanks for reminding us that planning for the inevitable backslides/errors is important. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but that it should be part of our plan.

    Daniel Markovitz January 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm
  • Really good thinking and in line with mine.
    I have already talked about that on my blog in a post called Theory of the inverted T. Take a look on if interested!
    The translation is not the the best because it is made automatically by Google Translate, if you want to read the original then it is this link.

    Dragan Bosnjak January 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm
  • Really good thinking and in line with mine.
    I have already talked about that on my blog in a post called Theory of the inverted T. Take a look on if interested!
    The translation is not the the best because it is made automatically by Google Translate, if you want to read the original then it is this link.

    Dragan Bosnjak January 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm
  • Really good thinking and in line with mine.
    I have already talked about that on my blog in a post called Theory of the inverted T. Take a look on if interested!
    The translation is not the the best because it is made automatically by Google Translate, if you want to read the original then it is this link.

    Dragan Bosnjak January 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm
  • So True!

    One reason why Improvement efforts fail is because the resources that are facilitating and helping lead the change get spread too thin. They can scratch the surface in a lot of areas, but when people want more, they can’t deliver beacause there’s just not enough to go around. They are not able to go deep enough to sustain the gains.

    Glenn

    Glenn Whitfield January 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm
  • So True!

    One reason why Improvement efforts fail is because the resources that are facilitating and helping lead the change get spread too thin. They can scratch the surface in a lot of areas, but when people want more, they can’t deliver beacause there’s just not enough to go around. They are not able to go deep enough to sustain the gains.

    Glenn

    Glenn Whitfield January 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm
  • So True!

    One reason why Improvement efforts fail is because the resources that are facilitating and helping lead the change get spread too thin. They can scratch the surface in a lot of areas, but when people want more, they can’t deliver beacause there’s just not enough to go around. They are not able to go deep enough to sustain the gains.

    Glenn

    Glenn Whitfield January 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm
  • Glenn, that’s an excellent point. It’s not what to do, it’s what to do first. People have grand ideas. Should you teach everyone at a deep and meaningful level and provide them a coach and so on….of course, that would be great. Is it practical? Not for most organizations. Pick a strategy that you can excel at. What we like about inch-wide, mile-deep is that it has a better LEARNING ROI than other strategies, and so it becomes a slow step that helps you go faster down the road.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh January 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm
  • Glenn, that’s an excellent point. It’s not what to do, it’s what to do first. People have grand ideas. Should you teach everyone at a deep and meaningful level and provide them a coach and so on….of course, that would be great. Is it practical? Not for most organizations. Pick a strategy that you can excel at. What we like about inch-wide, mile-deep is that it has a better LEARNING ROI than other strategies, and so it becomes a slow step that helps you go faster down the road.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh January 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm
  • Glenn, that’s an excellent point. It’s not what to do, it’s what to do first. People have grand ideas. Should you teach everyone at a deep and meaningful level and provide them a coach and so on….of course, that would be great. Is it practical? Not for most organizations. Pick a strategy that you can excel at. What we like about inch-wide, mile-deep is that it has a better LEARNING ROI than other strategies, and so it becomes a slow step that helps you go faster down the road.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh January 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm
  • […] Leading Change an Inch Wide and a Mile Deep dal blog di Jamie Flinchbaugh: Simile al post sulla Teoria della T rovesciata (traduzione automatica) […]

  • […] Leading Change an Inch Wide and a Mile Deep dal blog di Jamie Flinchbaugh: Simile al post sulla Teoria della T rovesciata (traduzione automatica) […]

  • […] Leading Change an Inch Wide and a Mile Deep dal blog di Jamie Flinchbaugh: Simile al post sulla Teoria della T rovesciata (traduzione automatica) […]

  • I’ve found that it is never black and white. Some organizations are ready for an inch wide/mile deep and some are ready for inch deep/mile wide. And some are even ready for half a mile both directions… One problem I’ve found with the mile deep approach is employee burn out. A few select employees get the information and they catch “Lean Fever”, but their teammates don’t “get it” so the trained employees feel the uphill battle and burnout. I’ve found the best approach to be somewhere in-between, but it is different with every company and every team and it is mandatory that the management team understand what they have signed up for.

    Jeff Robinson January 31, 2010 at 4:20 pm
  • I’ve found that it is never black and white. Some organizations are ready for an inch wide/mile deep and some are ready for inch deep/mile wide. And some are even ready for half a mile both directions… One problem I’ve found with the mile deep approach is employee burn out. A few select employees get the information and they catch “Lean Fever”, but their teammates don’t “get it” so the trained employees feel the uphill battle and burnout. I’ve found the best approach to be somewhere in-between, but it is different with every company and every team and it is mandatory that the management team understand what they have signed up for.

    Jeff Robinson January 31, 2010 at 4:20 pm
  • I’ve found that it is never black and white. Some organizations are ready for an inch wide/mile deep and some are ready for inch deep/mile wide. And some are even ready for half a mile both directions… One problem I’ve found with the mile deep approach is employee burn out. A few select employees get the information and they catch “Lean Fever”, but their teammates don’t “get it” so the trained employees feel the uphill battle and burnout. I’ve found the best approach to be somewhere in-between, but it is different with every company and every team and it is mandatory that the management team understand what they have signed up for.

    Jeff Robinson January 31, 2010 at 4:20 pm
  • Great Message!

    We’re about to begin leading the cultural change for Lean at my company and we’ve had this discussion more than a few times among the change agents we’re tageting to get this going. What we’ve come up with is exactly what you’re saying, so we’ve decided to do it both ways.

    We’ve decided that the best way we can come up with to start leading the culture change and actually getting something out of it is to first go a mile wide and an inch deep by teaching and practicing 5S. Then we’ll go an inch deep and a mile wide by starting with the people in one cell and training them thoroughly while simultaneously helping them put Lean principles into practice out on the floor in the areas where they actually work every day. Once we believe they understand pretty well and can sustain their efforts and keep going on their own, we’ll move on to the next cell. And just to try to get the most “bang for our buck,” we’re going to pick one of the cells that are…shall we say most in need of Lean to start with, and work our way up to the more efficiently running cells.

    We think that this way we can primer everyone with 5S and set the foundation for Lean thinking. And then dive in and get it started with an area most in need of it, make it a success, and move on from there. The 5S primer will set everyone up for Lean and help with sustainment, and the first cell’s turnaround will demonstrate the power and usefulness of Lean and make everyone else want to do it as well! At least that’s our hope…

    Vance February 8, 2010 at 7:54 am
  • Great Message!

    We’re about to begin leading the cultural change for Lean at my company and we’ve had this discussion more than a few times among the change agents we’re tageting to get this going. What we’ve come up with is exactly what you’re saying, so we’ve decided to do it both ways.

    We’ve decided that the best way we can come up with to start leading the culture change and actually getting something out of it is to first go a mile wide and an inch deep by teaching and practicing 5S. Then we’ll go an inch deep and a mile wide by starting with the people in one cell and training them thoroughly while simultaneously helping them put Lean principles into practice out on the floor in the areas where they actually work every day. Once we believe they understand pretty well and can sustain their efforts and keep going on their own, we’ll move on to the next cell. And just to try to get the most “bang for our buck,” we’re going to pick one of the cells that are…shall we say most in need of Lean to start with, and work our way up to the more efficiently running cells.

    We think that this way we can primer everyone with 5S and set the foundation for Lean thinking. And then dive in and get it started with an area most in need of it, make it a success, and move on from there. The 5S primer will set everyone up for Lean and help with sustainment, and the first cell’s turnaround will demonstrate the power and usefulness of Lean and make everyone else want to do it as well! At least that’s our hope…

    Vance February 8, 2010 at 7:54 am
  • Great Message!

    We’re about to begin leading the cultural change for Lean at my company and we’ve had this discussion more than a few times among the change agents we’re tageting to get this going. What we’ve come up with is exactly what you’re saying, so we’ve decided to do it both ways.

    We’ve decided that the best way we can come up with to start leading the culture change and actually getting something out of it is to first go a mile wide and an inch deep by teaching and practicing 5S. Then we’ll go an inch deep and a mile wide by starting with the people in one cell and training them thoroughly while simultaneously helping them put Lean principles into practice out on the floor in the areas where they actually work every day. Once we believe they understand pretty well and can sustain their efforts and keep going on their own, we’ll move on to the next cell. And just to try to get the most “bang for our buck,” we’re going to pick one of the cells that are…shall we say most in need of Lean to start with, and work our way up to the more efficiently running cells.

    We think that this way we can primer everyone with 5S and set the foundation for Lean thinking. And then dive in and get it started with an area most in need of it, make it a success, and move on from there. The 5S primer will set everyone up for Lean and help with sustainment, and the first cell’s turnaround will demonstrate the power and usefulness of Lean and make everyone else want to do it as well! At least that’s our hope…

    Vance February 8, 2010 at 7:54 am
  • Vance sounds like a reasonable strategy. Just one warning – 5S isn’t the primer that many people think it is. When it comes to producing results and sustaining the changes, 5S is more complicated and advanced than many believe. It’s not the “easy win” that many use it for. Use it because it’s the right solution to the right set of problems.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh February 8, 2010 at 8:53 am
  • Vance sounds like a reasonable strategy. Just one warning – 5S isn’t the primer that many people think it is. When it comes to producing results and sustaining the changes, 5S is more complicated and advanced than many believe. It’s not the “easy win” that many use it for. Use it because it’s the right solution to the right set of problems.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh February 8, 2010 at 8:53 am
  • Vance sounds like a reasonable strategy. Just one warning – 5S isn’t the primer that many people think it is. When it comes to producing results and sustaining the changes, 5S is more complicated and advanced than many believe. It’s not the “easy win” that many use it for. Use it because it’s the right solution to the right set of problems.

    Jamie Flinchbaugh February 8, 2010 at 8:53 am