Thursday, February 16, 2012

What does Lean success look like? Part 4: TRUST

This week we have tried to bring into focus what the target condition in a lean organization looks like. This target condition is the cultural "payoff" for an effort that is hard.(on a hard to do scale of 1-10, it's probably an 8.)  To summarize what I've listed so far:
1. Strong during economic tough times
2. Little to no team member turnover
3. Ownership vs. Employee-ism
4. Greater personal prosperity for all stakeholders
5. Market Disruption- We're just faster and smarter (I used to tell our people we want to be like the Patriots!)

Today let's talk about RESPECT for People and TRUST.
I will have an entire blog dedicated to the Respect for People principle (from the Toyota Production System) and how I applied it at my company. It starts with "I trust you will do your job". Think of all of the ways employers sabotage this statement on a daily basis:
1. Thou shalts and shalt nots on the company bulletin board
2. Time clocks or time cards-a necessary evil, but definitely a hurdle toward an ownership mindset
3. Implementing policies without discussion with the team members who will be affected
4. Locking office supply cabinets, stamp machines, etc.
5. Implementing changes in processes without the direct input of process owners- Remember, your team doing the work is the world's leading authority on the process (they do it every day.) 

"Swooping" in and out to help fix a process is disrespectful.
People by nature will be trustworthy when you DEMONSTRATE you trust them! Nothing makes me shake my head more when I hear leaders complaining about their "employees"-WHO HIRED THEM? WHO TRAINED THEM? I ask "Why were they stars when you hired them, and now you're looking to get rid of them?" WHAT happened. Demonstrate trust by asking people what they think!
Think of all of the time wasted over the course of a year doing all of the "policy" things that are wasteful (your customer won't pay more because you have a new overtime policy) and are counterproductive to problem solving/process improvement.
It is so easy to destroy months and months of trust building and RESPECT for PEOPLE with a few chosen words......"just do it because I said to!!" The relationship goes right back to supervisor/underling, superior/inferior etc. Unfortunately I learned this the hard way, and I had to work that much harder demonstrating trust to get back to where I was. Stay tuned for my next installment where we will continue to look at what the target condition (the payoff) will look like!

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