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Creating A Lean Culture Can Be Difficult

Every company has its own established culture; creating a lean culture that supersedes the older culture requires that companies implement a top notch education program about what changes are being made, why they are being made and what the benefit is to the employee.It is often this last stipulation that management forgets.They see the benefits to the company in greater profits, and do not realize that employees who have no share in the profits won't care if the company makes more money because they do not receive any benefits for higher profit margins.

Management might get all of the tools to establish a new program, but unless it is implemented in the correct way, the tools will be used for a bit and then left in the closet to collect dust.The first part of implementation requires getting everyone on the same page and getting them to buy in to the changes.This means that employees need to know what is going on and why.Top down management is a thing of the past.Very few people are going t do something just because they are told to.Even those who fear for their jobs will drag their feet at any change because change is always perceived as threatening.
The education program that is implemented needs to talk about why the company is making the change."Becoming leaner" is a terrible reason to give to the employees because it sounds a lot like "eliminating employee positions so that everyone who is left has to do more work for the same amount of pay so that the company can make boatloads of money."Alternatively it may sound like "the company is in such dire straits that if we don't do anything to slash the workforce, no one is going to have jobs."Neither statement will inspire people to buy in to that type of program.

It is important to emphasize how the program is going to help employees do their job better and keep customers satisfied.For salaried employees, a benefit of a lean system is that they may not have to work more than eight hours in a day.This might not be perceived as a benefit for hourly employees who like to get overtime.A streamlined system might eliminate some paperwork - that benefits everyone.

There are always growing pains with any new system.People need to be made aware that going back to the old way is not acceptable, and while it may happen from time to time, everyone needs to work on making sure that they create a new habit with the new way.Old habits are hard to break, and new ones are hard to adopt.When a company decides to adopt a lean culture, it should make sure that everyone understands and is on board with the program.

Changing from an old culture to a new one can be difficult even for the most adaptive person.Once the workforce and management are on board and understand the program, it is important to keep practicing the program until it becomes a habit.Every day a conscious effort needs to be applied, so that people can get done what needs to be done to learn the new procedures and protocols in the same way that they had the old ones learned.Vestiges of the old culture need to be eliminated and the new culture needs to become manifest in words and in deeds.Visual reminders can be used to ensure that people have a motivational cue to look at whenever the change gets to be a little rough.

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