Creating a “Lean” Culture

I sat glued to the television watching basketball last weekend.

All my favorite teams advanced.

I love watching the coaches. There are those I have seen for years. There are always some new faces as well.

You get glimpses of how they conduct themselves in the timeout huddles, how they speak in the locker rooms, how they encourage and teach during the course of the action. Very few stand idle. Most are engaged with getting the most out of their team.

I have played in a lot of basketball games. While the best coaches will offer adjustments as the game is being played, it’s a small part of what goes on. The best, best coaches are also doing what the philosopher Samuel Johnson said about teaching:

“Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”

Great coaches have done the teaching and preparation in practice. Once they have taught it and prepared, they aren’t ashamed of revisiting again and again the fundamentals of the strategy and the game. They have learned that if they don’t remind consistently and constantly, it may not get done.

I think that is a huge challenge for us as we create a “lean culture.” We are doing new things that improve operations. As we conceive it, we implement it and get the results. The next challenge is to make sure it becomes part of our everyday routine. Everyday routines and habits are what becomes our culture. It takes reminding to get it done.