As with any business improvement initiative getting stakeholder buy in is crucial.

All business improvement activity will typically go through various phases from finding the issues through to theorizing the possible solution. However of key importance to your program is the introduction and then sustainment of the change / solution itself. Getting both of these right is imperative as if you introduce an improvement half-heartedly then you may find that your staff don’t trust the new methods, they don’t believe it and most importantly don’t make it happen.

How to get buy in, Lean Management at the top!

In any organization staff respond to the queues and messages given out by their companies management team. In order for your initiative to be successful you need to capitalize on this and ensure that the leadership team play an important part in your project – they need to

• Be able to understand the initiative and what it will deliver
• Must participate and lead the way,
• Share the vision

How do the management team get involved in Lean?

Most businesses have a variety of ways open to the management team to support your program – First thing to consider is the business strategy. Going lean, in our opinion must be part of the total business strategy – don’t do it in half measures, make it a management objective to make lean work! Set some real tangible business objectives which form part of the business strategy that can ONLY be met through successful implementation of lean.

Also consider the support you’ll need through:

• Support through business strategy, goals or objectives.
• Financial (e.g. Funding training, project resources)
• Communication from the management team to the workforce

Getting the management team clued up on lean.

With initiatives like lean – members of the management team may not fully understand all of the principles or methods involved – therefore correct
Communications between the management and project team are vital – insist on:

Clear indication of future state processes
Simple to understand activity plans
Clear and concise benefits and risks
Regular open two-way communication (indeed if your implementing lean as part of a project consider using a steering board to oversee the project and consider appropriate management representation on that team.)

Summary

To be successful when introducing lean into the workplace you have to ensure that support starts from the top of the organization. Communication is vital – lean doesn’t always follow a step-by-step approach so ensuring that everyone understands where your starting from where you’ll end up and how you’ll get there is key. Without the rigorous support of your management team, while you might not fail, your implementation will be a darn site harder – remember that performance, behavior and organizational culture are driven from the top.

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