Lean Advice From Sobek & Smalley

“From our experience, improvement efforts in companies become ineffective when the emphasis becomes adhering to a standard tool and enforcing a certain way of doing things.  Inherently, the adherence is all well intended as a means of promoting standardization and ultimately improvement.  Unfortunately, the implementation of a certain tool or technique can become more important than improvement of the process or current situation.  In other words, the means trump the ends……place the emphasis on performing, improving, and learning rather than on conforming to templates, tools, and procedures.” – From the highly recommended book “Understanding A3 Thinking (Sobek/Smalley)” page 133.

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Filed under Business, Change Management, Consulting, Improve With Lean, Learn Leadership, Learning Organization, Problem Solving

2 responses to “Lean Advice From Sobek & Smalley

  1. Pingback: Articles on Continuous Improvement

  2. Hi Brian,

    Excellent point! You can test this form over substance theory by simply discussing a lean principle (i.e., pull) and then sharing a tool (i.e., a kanban sizing spreadsheet). Typically, folks will get sucked into the shiny tool/form/spreadsheet as if there was some sort of tractor beam and ignore the fundamental stuff. We can’t just know how, we also need to know why. Without that balance, we just end up blindly using tools, make little progress and don’t learn a heck of a lot.

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