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Developing Leaders at Every Level

As one of our Lean Manager graduates put it – "The key to success is building leaders. Once you have that, you can build everything else.”

Making it all work!

In an Enterprise in motion™, it is important to remember that there are leaders at every level, with varying accountability pending where you are in the hierarchy: executives, managers, supervisors, team leaders and value stream managers. But the traits all leaders share are:

  • Creativity – Challenging the status quo
  • Capability – Ability to orchestrate change
  • Courage – Willingness to experiment and learn
  • Credibility – Readiness to lead by example – “talk it, walk it, teach it

In our interactions with manufacturing and service industry organizations there is a consistent theme to the problems they face as they work to advance operational excellence. The sticky issues will likely come as no surprise; they include ones most of us are already aware of and have encountered for years:

  • Lack of top leadership engagement
  • Unwillingness to show patience to allow improvement to work
  • Difficulty sustaining a systemic focus
  • No consistent process for developing and deploying resource capabilities

Each of these issues can be traced to an absence of the routines necessary to lead and manage operational excellence initiatives.

Developing a sustainable “operational excellence” culture is the outcome of a 1,000 things done the right way, but it begins with development of leadership routines up and down the organization.

A leader’s key role, whether at the supervisor level or in upper management, is to serve their team so that they have the information, skills, and tools they need to be successful. That means…

  • The role of the senior-level management team is key! No enterprise-wide operational improvement program can succeed without visible and long-term commitment by upper management supported by their active involvement in the improvement process.
  • Management at all levels is mobilized to provide direction and manage performance while spending as much time as possible on employee teaching and coaching.
  • Operational teams are empowered to solve problems and propose improvement solutions in a faultless and trusting environment.

Most operational excellence initiatives fail because leaders overlook or significantly under estimate the need for the daily management routines that keep the effort on track and moving forward. Productivity can help. For more information on our leadership development program, an on the job coaching and mentoring program, give us a call.

Whether your organization can benefit from executive coaching, maturing supervisory skills, or developing associates’ problem-solving capabilities, we understand how to develop skills and bring out the best in your people.

Give us a call, we would welcome the opportunity to share our insights on developing leaders and creating a lean culture.

 

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