If you’ve ever said, Lean doesn’t work here or if you’ve heard someone say that, then this video is for you. Because Lean works, it’s a collection of ideas and concepts that aim to make things better.

Let’s just think about them for a second.

So you’ve got things like Failure Demand, where you teach people that the demand or the work coming is either a good thing, Value Demand or a thing, Failure Demand because of a failure that happened somewhere else.

That sounds like a pretty good thing. Or you could look at Non-Value Added time. So you could look at steps in a process and look at where we were spending time doing stuff that wasn’t really adding much value.

Or then there are Eight Wastes where we teach people about the different types of Waste that can be in their organisation and their process. And once you can identify them, you’ll have a better chance of removing them or minimising them from the process.

Well, then there are concepts like Systems Thinking where we get to think about the process in the round from end-to-end, rather than just looking at a slice of the process and trying to fix that, because we know that things that happen over here might have an impact over here. Or we could look at things like flow and how that work moves around the process in the most optimal way. Or Root Cause Analysis, where we try and teach people to get to the Root Cause of the issue rather than just treating a symptom.

All these things are pretty common sense they work. In fact, I’ve met people who use these exact things but never even heard of Lean. Sure they don’t use the same word and it might not call them the same thing and there might be holes in the knowledge, but some people just figure this out for themselves because it’s common sense.

The valuably in though is it’s all wrapped together into something that’s cohesive and understandable as something that, makes sense to people.

If you’ve ever tried to screw in a screw using a hammer, you’ll know that that doesn’t work very well. Right, so if you use the wrong tool for the job, you’re not going to get the outcome you want. You might say well Cam that’s a pretty crappy analogy because of course, I’m not going to use a hammer to screw in a screw. Okay, you’d be right. So let’s think of it a little bit more differently.

Let’s say you’re using a drill to screw in a screw. But the screw keeps falling off the end of the drill, or you screwed it in the wood split. or when you screwed it in, it went in at a weird angle and didn’t go in the way wanted it to. Now all those issues, the fault of the screw, and the drill that you’re using, or does the fault lie with the person using them because they didn’t realise that they were drilling into is the kind of wood that would split and they needed to pre-drill the holes, or they didn’t have the right balance to sort of hold the screw on the end properly. Or they weren’t holding the drill straight enough to be able to drill it in, in a nice straight line.

So it’s usually the uses of the tools and techniques, not the tools and techniques themselves. And actually, if I take this a step further, in my experience, it’s got nothing to do with the tools at all. When someone says the Lean doesn’t work or Lean won’t work here, or we’ve tried Lean it didn’t work.

When I examine why that is the case, it’s normally a failure of communication and behaviours, nothing to do with the tools and techniques. It’s usually down to leadership behaviours or poor leadership communication. It’s down to the behaviour of wanting a particular outcome rather than leading where the work would go.

It could be that the way they communicated to staff was poor could be the way they celebrate their success wasn’t great. It could have been poorly understood by middle management. It’s usually a problem of communication and behaviours.

It’s not a problem with Lean, Lean is good. it works. So next time you hear someone say Lean doesn’t work here or we’ve tried that didn’t work. How about you’re trying to unpick why they’re saying that perhaps even get to the Root Cause of why they believe that and then start to address those issues because Lean works.