[Feb 25, 2010 - I just added a related video at the end of this post - short and to the point. Thanks to Mike Leamon for this.]
As I look at various sources of information on Lean, especially comparing it to the Toyota Production System, it seems to me that despite all the talk about the importance of teamwork, respect for opinions, and development of specialists, the process improvement methodologies actually ignore a large part of what can make organizations better - employee development. In so many examples I have read, the training side of a Lean project is not about making people better employees, better teamworkers, better leaders; it becomes assumed that through indoctrination in the Lean way, you will do these things naturally. There must be a thousand attributes of how people could be enabled to work better, without improvement of their processes, that Lean must miss.
Please don't get me wrong - I believe Lean is a powerful methodologies for making processes operate better and Agile is a powerful methodology for implementing software to further assist in the transformation. But Lean is not intended to be a completely holistic program for change in an organization. Therefore there is a distinct chunk of business improvement that is being missed by not addressing the performance and traits of employees and leaders outside of (or maybe it is alongside) the process. Is this a perception industry? Do people care about employee development, or are they just workers in a process that we can swap in and out at will?
Your thoughts and comments are much appreciated...
A post from the Improving It blog
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