The Foundation of Any Lean Program: Respect

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The Foundation of Any Lean Program: Respect

A little research into Lean and Six Sigma reveals that:

  • The goal of Lean is to Eliminate Waste.
  • The goal of Six Sigma is to Eliminate Variation.
  • The goal of Lean Six Sigma is to Continuously Improve or create a culture of Continuous Improvement. 

All of this is true, but without the foundational principle of respect, none of this is possible.

Additional types of respect

Replacing the word respect with its synonyms “attention” and “honor,” opens our eyes to new ways to show respect in our company.

Respect for the Team
Teams form around a single common purpose. Teamwork occurs within a team only when there is respect. Respect is like air. As long as it’s present, nobody thinks about it. But if you take it away, it’s all that people can think about.

While trust is a belief in your employees, respect is that trust in action. A relationship based on trust and respect requires every team member to take responsibility for their actions.

Leadership has a strong influence on how people behave. As a leader of your organization, you need to model and encourage the behaviors you seek as well as take action when inappropriate conduct or harassment occurs. It’s important that employees see that their top management team holds themselves accountable to the same behaviors and standards that are expected of the group.

Respect for the Process
Can you show respect to a process? Yes! To solve a problem Lean leaders “respect” the process by spending time at the Gemba or the place where the work is happening. Showing respect or attention to the process means spending sufficient time observing and working in the process until the leader gains an intimate understanding. Showing this level of respect enables the Lean leader to work with the team to solve problems in ways a leader who has not shown respect to the process cannot.

Respect for the Suppliers
Toyota is famous for sending leaders to their suppliers for years at a time to help them learn the Toyota Production System. This shows respect. They challenge the suppliers to perform better, improve quality, on time delivery, and reduce waste. They show respect by teaching Lean principles and working together to achieve common goals that benefit the supplier and Toyota. 

 Does your company behave in ways that are disrespectful to suppliers? For example, delaying payment for 60 or more days to suppliers. Placing last minute orders because of poor planning. These behaviors hurt the relationship. Instead we should look for ways to strengthen the relationship with our suppliers and become partners, not adversaries. Toyota understands that respect for suppliers will streamline their supply chain, lower their costs and improve quality. 

Respect is the Foundation
A Continuous Improvement Culture should be built on a foundation of Respect. Respect enables a safe environment where employees surface problems and seek to improve. It empowers operators to shout, “I found waste in my process” or “Process variation is creating rework” or “This task is more difficult than it needs to be.”  

 The tools of Lean Six Sigma are more likely to be used when leaders show respect for their people and the process by training, coaching, mentoring team members in how to use the tools.

 We challenge you to write down three ways you can show respect in each of the following categories:

Respect for the Team

  1. Train my team on a Lean topic like Line Balancing or Pull Flow.
  2. _______________________________
  3. _______________________________

Respect for the Process

  1. Work side by side with my team to look for overburdening.
  2. _______________________________
  3. _______________________________

Respect for the Suppliers

  1. _______________________________
  2. _______________________________
  3. _______________________________

Respect for the Customers

  1. _______________________________
  2. _______________________________
  3. _______________________________

Respect for the Community

  1. _______________________________
  2. _______________________________
  3. _______________________________

2020-06-29T15:52:48+00:00 June 29th, 2020|Blog, Continuous Improvement, Kaizen, Lean, Tips and Articles|

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