Establish Blame First

I am thinking that anyone reading this blog will agree that one of the core tenants of lean philosophy is that the root of most problems will be found in the process not the person…

Why is it then that when it comes to the senior leadership team of most any organization, we absolutely and consistently ignore this principle?  We reflexively focus clearly and consistently on individual leaders as we point the finger of fault when the organization is not performing/behaving as a “lean” organization.

Cindy Jimmerson [] had a great quote: “It has been unrealistic and unfair for management and the senior leadership team to create fixes for problems in work from which they are far removed.”

So why are they far removed?  Seems that we ought to ask the 5 why’s, do some classic root cause analysis, and go see their gemba to better understand and grasp the situation.  Why are their days booked with meetings?  Why are they “unable” to have standard work?  Why doesn’t lean support their work processes?

I am not letting anyone off the hook…lean clarifies accountabilities for all in the entire organization.  I am just reflecting on the idea that we ought to look at this as problem ripe for opportunity instead of sitting back and finding fault first.


2 thoughts on “Establish Blame First

  1. It is easy to point at others when we think our own areas are “just fine”. Getting Leaders to be humble enough to truly see and understand the WASTE all around them, including in their own processes, is a key step in getting a Lean transformation started and the foundation for sustainability. Toyota’s laser focus on “We know we’ll never be perfect, but we’re going to be closer at the end of every day…” is a great example of this humble thinking.

    True Lean Leaders understand their fingers are there to build and fix things, not to point with.

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