WHY is one of the most important questions for your Lean journey. Here are the reasons:
- IMPROVE ROOT CAUSES – Instead of fixing symptoms, determine what is causing the problem by asking WHY five times (Wikipedia example)
- GOOD CHANGE MANAGEMENT – Ensure your staff knows WHY an improvement is made or the reasons for standardization. This is only helpful if the answer to WHY isn’t “because I told you so”.
- SUSTAIN GAINS – Just because a brilliant process has been designed for standardization does not mean all staff will follow it. Leaders need to ask WHY an individual does not perform to standard. It could be because of lack of training, a misunderstanding of WHY change was made, a physical or space limitation preventing the ability to follow it, a flat out refusal to adhere to it, or many other reasons. You can not sustain unless you find out WHY people are not following it.
- BETTER TEACHING – In my experience, teaching the reasons WHY behind the Lean tools helps people think critically. Just explaining how the tools are used can lead to a misuse of them.
- IMPACT PERFORMANCE – Your organization probably has a lot of demand for projects. Find out WHY the projects are needed and use that information to select those that impact your performance. Projects can keep a lot of people flurrying in activity but are not always conceptualized to achieve improvement for the organization’s performance, creating value for customers, or achieving strategic aims.
What other use of WHY have helped you on your Lean journey?
Keep on improving!