5 Key Actions of Successful Lean Leaders

December 12th, 2013 by John Gallagher No Comments

Recently, I had a chance to attend a large conference and speak to a small group and discuss challenges that leaders face in attempting to transform the culture in their organizations.  The leaders were part of a larger group of over 5,000 Healthcare leaders at a two-day conference learning tools & techniques to improve quality, reduce cost, and improve the experience that patients receive in Healthcare.  There were lots of resources… over 100 books for sale, 100+ vendors, 400 story boards and 200+ workshops.  Lots of learning opportunities.

leadership key

When I had my chance to talk to a small group, I described actions necessary for leaders to be successful in transformation.  When leaders turn these actions in to regular behaviors, the chance of success increases exponentially

1) Lead by example – To transform an organization, you will need to ask your team to change behaviors…some they have learned over years of work and education.  Are you willing to lead by example and change as well?  Your team must SEE your willingness to learn

2) ‘Round’ for improvement – This was a Healthcare conference, so ’rounding’ was a familiar term.  To transform an organization, you won’t be able to do it from behind the desk in your office.

3) Follow Leadership Standard Work – What are those disciplines you need to repeat on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to achieve success.  Write them down… check them off. This is not natural or easy, but is rewarding.

4) Ask coaching questions – As the leader, you don’t have to have all the answers.  Challenge your team to solve the problems.  You must ask them coaching questions to get them to think and act differently

5) Relentlessly reflect – When was the last time you sat down and spent time ‘alone’ reflecting on how things are going?  You must plan reflection time in your week.  Put it in your calendar.  Protect it and treat it like other important meetings you have.  Ask yourself, “What is going well?”, or “What needs to improve?”  Write these things down and then develop a plan to keep doing the good and changing what needs improved!

Do I think this is an all-inclusive list?  No.  But, if you can develop the discipline to complete these 5 actions, the other things will come easier.

Are you completing these actions in your leadership?  What do you need to improve?  What is going well?  What is a critical action you would ADD to this list?  Let me know in the comments.  I will choose one commenter at random on December 25 to receive a ‘Christmas present’ from me.  A copy of Leading the Lean Enterprise Transformation by George Koenigsaecker, who has been an influence on my leadership development.

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