How Is Lean Done?

Lean is best implemented as a snowball rather than a cannon ball. Snowballs start small and continually build; cannon balls are a one time shot and are NOT sustainable in the long run.

In order to implement lean, you must build a culture of continuous improvement. In my company, FastCap, we have been able to build a strong culture of lean thinkers by implementing a daily morning meeting. To learn more watch this quick 5-minute video. Lean America’s model is to place a lean teacher in every government organization. That teacher will work with a group of 10-30 people in a single department for 30 consecutive days. The lean teacher will conduct meetings that will last between 15-30 minutes every morning with the entire department.

During the meeting, team members will be taught what waste looks like, how to eliminate it, and what continuous improvement looks like. To learn more about continuous improvement, watch this quick 5-minute video on the FastCap morning improvement walk. The key is to teach team members to improve and eliminate waste in small increments each and everyday. Each team member will be asked to find waste and to implement solutions for them. The goal is to turn every team member into a world class problem solver who seeks and destroys waste everyday. We have videos that you can watch on what a single improvement looks like before and after.

The morning meeting will be a time to share and discuss problems, solutions, and to celebrate previous improvements. During the 30 day period, each team member will take turns leading the meeting. The goal is to create leaders by teaching and enforcing leadership qualities throughout the department.

At the end of the 30 days, the department will be on its own to continue the process in the absence of the lean teacher. Then:

  • the lean teacher will attend one meeting a week for the next 30 days,
  • one meeting a month for the entire first year.
  • after one year, the original team will send its own lean teachers to other departments and the snowball is rolling; creating world class lean thinkers and problem solvers.