In light of Dan Pink's SRA talk about motivation (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us), what should a leader do to help his/her organization achieve progress in its lean journey?
In the cases of Wiremold and NUMMI, what are some of the key factors that are in place when a company "reverts" from lean? How can an organization prevent this? Is it possible to prevent this from happening?
The main lesson of NUMMI is clear: Massive automation without corresponding changes in management and work force organization is not enough. Because GM's executives were too concerned with labor cost, they failed to recognize that other costs are also significant. These costs include inventory, defective parts, and overhead. Although automation can also reduce these costs, NUMMI clearly shown that changes in management practice are more cost-effective than buying new machines. Moreover, GM's corporate culture in the 1980s was ...view middle of the document...
GM simply wanted to do too much with too little time. As a result, managers and workers did not have enough time to master the latest technologies available. The chaos in Hamtramck during its first year clearly illustrate the danger of GM's "rushing ahead" strategy. In contrast, Ford and Chrysler moved more cautiously towards automation because they were at the edge of bankruptcy in the early 1980s. They simply did not have the ability to compete with GM in automation. As a result, these two companies' automation processes were more systematic and did not have GM's troubles.
To prevent this from happening
The typical western approach to organizational change is to start at the bottom, change the culture by trying to get everyone to think the right way, so their values and attitudes will change and they will naturally start to do the right things.
We should start with the behaviors, with what we do. Define the things we want to do, the ways we want to behave and want each other to behave, provide training, and then do what is necessary to reinforce those behaviors. The culture will change as a result.
With regard to "growing leaders" and "developing exceptional people", what can most manufacturers learn from Toyota (specific examples that caught your attention)?
A common expression heard around Toyota is “We do not just build cars, we build people.” Every new product development program, every prototype, every quality defect in the factory, and every kaizen activity is an opportunity to develop people.
What Toyota has been able to do is gather competent and trainable people around the world, and with considerable time and effort develop high levels of talent in the masses. It is not a few star performers who make up a strong team. It is a collection of many players, each with good capability working in unison that makes an exceptional team. Toyota does not hope for the lucky draw of finding the natural talent— a rare find— they work on the known entity— the latent talent in each person who has the desire for personal growth.
What practical contributions do you believe you personally could make to your organization (if you are currently employed) to promote a learning organization?