Lean "soft skills" tool kit: How to implement lean in a small service environment




White, Bradley S.

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Despite its clear benefits to companies, lean implementation has a very high failure rate. This is because lean often is not implemented strategically and it does not properly account for the diverse personalities in the workforce. The result is that lean project may be working on the wrong part of an organization without sufficient buy-in from the workforce to be effective.

This can be corrected by linking lean with the balanced scorecard and by intelligently managing the personalities of the workforce. Because most organizations do not have a balanced scorecard, an implementation tool has been created to speed the process of strategic planning. This implementation tool was successfully utilized by Murphy Turner & Associates to create a strategy for the company to guide the process improvement initiative.

The second tool is the Work Personalities Tool, which classifies the workforce into six basic work personality types. This classification gives managers new insight into the interactions of employees and helps identify unbalanced teams. This tool was used throughout the garrison of a military installation to help show the differences in corporate culture in each directorate.

The final tool created is a change management structure based upon the mental aspects of successful survivors. This tool helps quantify the impact of change from a lean improvement project on the employees in order to increase buy-in and avoid fatigue later in the project. A linking matrix was developed to link the work personalities with the phases of the project.


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Lean, Lean Implementation, Lean Psychology, Service, Six Sig, Small Business



Mechanical Engineering