Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What does Lean success look like? "Employeeism" vs. "Ownership"

The benefits of having LEAN or TPS as your business strategy:
1) Nearly unaffected by recession,
2) Little to no team member turnover,
3) Ownership vs. employee-ism (we'll cover that today),
4) Greater personal prosperity amongst team members,
5) Some degree of market disruption....we're just much faster and smarter.

"Employeeism" can be quickly identified by it's language. The language is not spoken by the managers, but in the break area, during coffee or lunch. You also won't hear it when managers are around in the break area. Some of the words you hear are: "this place (or at worst this #@$%^ place)", "they", "them", "I tried telling them that", "we tried that a couple of years ago", "I'll stay if you pay me, otherwise I'm outta here", "tell me what to do, I'll do it, I just work here". It is an easy language to learn, especially for the new people. They will master it faster than pig latin.

The language of "Ownership" is a completely different dialect. Some of the language: "my company", "let's try it, see if it works, what's the worst thing that can happen?" "Let's try it right after break, see if it will work", "I need to cut this break short, my demand is pretty big this week", "let me find my group leader so he/she can help me", "what's up with that extra inventory?", "Hold on guys, this is one of our customers on the phone," "I noticed oil leaking on Joe's machine, he asked me to be part of  an A3 team he's putting together to do some DMAIC". It is an easy language to learn, especially for new people. They will master it faster than pig latin, as long as the language of employeeism isn't widely spoken.

You probably think that the change in language is impossible. In fact, it is the result of good coaching at all levels and it happened in my company! P4 ("LEAN")  is nothing more than good coaching. Winning teams have a certain language you will hear, and losing teams have their own language, too. 

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