Setting objectives through lean

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 11-01-10

I have a new post published on The Lean Edge. See the full article on that site.

How do you set objectives with lean?

I won’t start from the beginning, because there are already so many quality posts here in response to the question. I will try to add to it with a couple of the more subtle points that I hope help you in turning these thoughts into action:

1. Work on the really hard problems

I notice that many organizations have problems that they write down and those that they don’t. The problems that have known solutions are written down. Those that people have no clue how to solve are not written down. But we must. We will never make progress on these problems unless we make them visible and start to work on them.

2. Establish the what AND the how

Have you ever left a meeting where you all agreed, but when you spoke to people afterwards you wondered “were we in the same meeting?” That is likely because you had agreement on WHAT you were going to do, but not the how. Building the how is critical to turn your objectives into action. When the how isn’t clear, people start pulling in many different directions leading to disjointed efforts, or worse.

3. Planning is everything; the plan is nothing.

This quote by Dwight Eisenhower expresses an important element of planning and of setting objectives. It’s not the outcome of the process. It’s the discussion, analysis, investigation, exploration, and consensus that is build in the process of planning and setting objectives. Picking a target or objective is easy. Having a meaningful dialogue in the creation of that is where the value can be found.

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