Lean management is a holistic approach to running a company and how your organization can benefit from this style of communication. As in most things, change starts at the top. Once you, as CEO, are convinced of the value of lean management, then the shift to it begins to happen. Now, how can you get that ball rolling?
Lean management allows people to do what they do best and most love to do. So one of the first steps you need to take is to organize your people so they can create small groups allowing them to do that most of the time. In other words, if you have people who want to sit at their desk and focus on getting information into the computer, you shouldn’t have them spending half of their day in meetings where they are expected to be highly communicative with others. Nor should you have someone who is highly social stuck in a filing room all by themselves all day. So the big trick at each level of your organization is discovering who likes to do what and how to make it possible for them to do that with more of their day. That will start with communication between them and with you and other leaders.
But sometimes people are so used to being told what to do, it might be hard for them to identify what the ideal situation would be for them.
Another issue you will face is that your management staff may feel as if they are being robbed. Because you will be empowering people to do what they already know and love doing, they will need much less direction and supervision. So helping management staff realize that they also will do what they love more and not as much of what they dread, the transition should be easier.
Even in the microcosm of your company, you will find those who love to file, those who love to answer phones, those who love to type, and those who love to organize. You will also find the people who dream up solutions and innovations. It is a simple matter of identifying and channeling those people and allowing them to shine in the way they have always wanted.
You’ll spend less time training new employees, partly because old ones won’t leave and partly because they will gladly train themselves about the things they love. You’ll spend less energy following up with people about when they will complete a project you feel they should do because almost everything they do is fun and exciting to them. You’ll also get to experience the appreciation of employees who know they’ve never loved a job more than what they are doing right now.
Ultimately, you’ll have managers who love communicating with their group and who know best how to do so. When that happens, your job as a communicator becomes almost effortless both inside your company and with the public.
The road to getting to this utopian company may have a few bumps. You’ll probably encounter some resistance too—mainly because no one has ever had it so good before. But the effort will be worth it and in the end your team will be happier, more productive, and more efficient.