Monday, July 11, 2005

Reason #3: Lack of Middle Management/Supervisor Buy-In

In this short chapter, Rubrich writes that middle managers and supervisors can be a roadblock, or a "brick wall." I've also heard these managers be called "concrete heads."

Many supervisors "had it good" under the old non-lean system. When they said "jump" people had to jump. Supervisors had control and power. Being a supervisor in a Lean environment forces you to be more of a coach and a leader. You have to be comfortable letting your employees take the lead on finding solutions to things. You have to listen to your employees, responding to their needs, problems, and requests. Many supervisors can't stomach that transition.

Rubruch lays out a 90-day plan for supervisors -- within 90 days, you should know which supervisors can make the transition and which ones you're going to have to part ways with.

Mark's advice: start with your supervisors at DAY ONE of lean. Let them know they have new expectations. But set CLEAR expectations about how to lead. The book, The Toyota Way Fieldbook is an excellent resource on how to be a lean leader.

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