Losing Control of Your Lean Journey [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 02-11-15

Do you feel a little out of control of your lean journey? Good.

The lean journey is not one that can be so self-contained that one person or team can keep their arms around it. If they can, it either hasn’t reached that important transitional point, or you are choking it off.

In this month’s IndustryWeek Lessons from the Road column, titled Losing Control of Your Lean Journey, I address this transition point in which you lose control. An excerpt:

2. Stop coaching, and begin developing coaches. As you begin to build critical mass, the number of people asking for coaching grows exponentially. The coaches cannot keep up. So they replace coaching with more efficient training so they can cover more people. Or sacrifice the quality of coaching. Or serve a handful and leave the rest wanting.

Instead, stop coaching and start focusing on developing a legion of coaches distributed throughout the organization. Coaches should be everywhere. One of my favorite assessment questions is, “Can you find a coach when you need one?” If someone is on third shift and all the coaches are on first shift, then they aren’t accessible. Coaches need to be in the work, at the moment of need. Developing coaches is a combination of developing lean capability and developing coaching capability. Don’t assume subject matter expertise is sufficient to be a coach.

I encourage you to share your own advice for reaching this point with others. And you can read the entire column here.