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September 6, 2017

Why Lean Fails

Lean is a people process. It is about people working together, as equals, to solve problems to everyone’s benefit.

Lean fails when an organisation tries to “bolt on” lean tools and checklists to an existing hierarchical culture. If the culture remains one of individuals vying for attention, and trying to show themselves to be more “effective” than their peers to gain promotion or a status upgrade then lean is bound to fail.

Collaboration cannot work in an individualistic culture.

Where the benefits of improvement are retained by the few lean will fail.

I’m not getting all left-wing here, I am just saying!

Lean is a mindset of shared growth. Lean fails where an organisation’s culture is based on individual advancement.

There are many places where management have shaken off their obsession with their own status to work in partnership with their teams and share the credit (and benefits) with them; but there are many more place where the focus on the individual has defeated attempts to implement lean.

What can you do to change that?