Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lean Behaviors: Trust

We don't talk about trust all that much in the Lean community. 
Perhaps we should a little more.
Why?  Because we ask people to do some rather counter-intuitive things as we try to set up a Lean system.  Like follow standard work even to the point of running out of raw materials.  Why do we do this?  So we can more quickly discover where other pinch points are.  We want to expose waste.  We, who think a lot about Lean and the systems thereof and want to find waste.
But, wait a minute, buster, says our associate.  I've seen this movie before and I know how it ends.  If I work hard and expose a shortage somewhere else, either I get in trouble or my pal who works over there gets in trouble and, either way, it isn't good.  No, I've learned to survive by making a work-around and then keeping the whole system "looking good". 
And she is right.  It makes no sense, based on her experience, to work hard to expose waste.
Unless you and I, leaders in our organizations, act differently as well.  Unless we demonstrate exposing waste gets rewarded, not punished.  Unless we walk the talk ourselves. 
Unless we say thank you. 
Unless we demonstrate respect for her opinion. 
That's trust.  And, without it, all the waste we so nobly hope to find remains hidden.
Keep on learning.


Chet Frame said...

Outstanding! Thank you.

Iris Vogt said...

Very true, and very well written. Reads like a novel.. :-)

Karen Wilhelm said...

Gaining trust means being trustworthy, and a lot of companies have a poor history on that score. They need to ask why, be honest, and make corrections.

Once I saw a memo from a company's management saying they were changing a policy to increase "trust" -- that's right, they put the word in quotation marks.