The Lean Approach


Lean thinking is a mindset. Once you start looking at work through the Lean lens, it is very difficult to look at work any other way. What is the process? Who is the customer? How do we get rid of the non-value added activities? Remember, an activity is only value added if your customer is willing to pay for it.

Oftentimes, employees are the customer. For example, let’s say you are called to a meeting to discuss an issue. Is it value-added for you? Only if it helps you in some way and you are willing to pay for the content with your time and work. Granted, attending the meeting may not be an option. But, if the person convening the meeting knew that the meeting was not value-added to their employee (customer), he/she may question the need for the meeting or, at the very least, their attendance.

Consider this comparison of Lean thinking versus common organizational thinking. While you read the comparison, again, think about our worlds of work. And remember, it is not about fixing blame, it is about fixing the process.

Click the table below for a larger view.

An excel chart providing examples of a lean approach to process management as opposed to a bloated approach.

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