Lean Persuasion

Aug. 8, 2008
Some tips on ways companies can win employees' acceptance of lean.

Employees are naturally resistant to change. Unless a company is announcing pay increases for all, or more vacation time, no news is usually good news for most workers. That's why when companies first introduce lean into their operations, it's often necessary to gain buy-in from the staff to facilitate real change. Drives and controls manufacturer Bosch Rexroth Corp. along with lean manufacturing expert Jamie Flinchbaugh have developed tips on ways companies can win employees' acceptance of lean. They suggest that employers involved in lean implementations:

  • Plan a common 90-second to three-minute standard communication message that will leave a lasting impression with workers. This can help answer questions employees have about the implementation. It also can be presented in an informal setting such as the cafeteria.
  • Use the informal time to explain what will change and why it's necessary rather than as a teaching session.
  • Make these messages consistent to build understanding and support from employees.
  • Ensure the staff understands that lean is being implemented because the process is flawed; not the employees doing the work.

Flinchbaugh and Bosch Rexroth offer more suggestions at www.boschrexroth-us.com/leanpodcast.

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