Interest towards Lean is again strong. Mindset plays a critical role in making Lean sustainable. How hungry are we to experiment, learn and improve as individuals and as teams?
Many companies and organizations have realized over the years that methodologies such as Lean or Six Sigma become training-focused science of its own with little impact to the real business. Still too often Lean is viewed as a technical issue, an exhaustive set of improvement tools used to address random process problems. Sounds familiar?
Fortunately, it is not big news anymore that making Lean stick is really about building the right culture. Naturally, you need the tools and skills but it is just a step of the journey. A great way to kick-off the journey is through fast experiments and learning Lean by doing, widely sharing the successes and creating strong pull for change. However, a deeper strategy is needed for making Lean stick.
”Making people think and take initiative is key” as stated by a famous Japanese pioneer from automotive industry. The question really is about how you are able to engage and unleash your people to improve each and every day, transforming your organization to a continuously learning system. For this establishing core daily Lean leadership practices and structure is a must.
- Are your people motivated and empowered to improve?
- Do they know what really adds value to the customer and can they see the improvement potential?
- Have you made it easy to systematically solve problems and improve?
- Have you encouraged them to try new?
- Are you exemplifying Lean as a leader?
Culture comes to life in behaviors that reflect our mindsets: Lean your mindset!
As with Lean, research and a number of terms related to learning teams and thinking have been around a while already. Even with some criticism, Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset greatly captures the essence of how mindset impacts how people and organizations learn. In fixed mindset, people focus on being smart: they constantly try to prove their expertise, they ignore feedback, they don’t share learnings, they focus on using proven approaches and they see success of others as a threat. In turn, in growth mindset people focus on getting better and believe that abilities can be developed: they actively seek and use feedback, they share ideas with others, they actively take risks and experiment, they are able to face setbacks knowing them as the only way to mastery, they are in a constant learning mode and brave to ask the ‘stupid’ questions. Mindsets we have typically are topic-specific.
Your mindset has a profound impact on your everyday behavior: how you think, collaborate, share and learn together and as an organization. This is why building the right mindset is in the core of creating sustainable continuous improvement culture. The best thing is that you can develop your mindset: Be self-aware and focus on the fundaments.
Start building the culture simply by asking: WHAT DID I LEARN TODAY?
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