Blog Post Successful Lean Implementations have Something at Stake

Successful Lean Implementations have Something at Stake



Successful Lean Implementations have Something at Stake


In the book ‘Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard’ by Chip and Dan Heath they argue that all change needs to do two things. One there must be a rational reason for change to happen and second there must be an emotional reason for change to happen. And when the two come together then change can and will happen. Yet in leading many Lean transformations the critical factor that senior management have wanted to know is what the financial return will be. When we combine these 3 elements we have what is at Stake for the project.

The Stake The Stake

The Stake or what is at Stake will decide if a project is successful or not. The financial return is often the easiest to understand but sometimes most difficult to define in its elements. For a 5S or 6S implementation it is difficult if not impossible to say this will be the return. Yet without a return on investment it is often impossible for a senior manager to be able to sign off on a project, let alone be the sponsor pushing change through.

There needs to be a performance target this typically is a metric detailing Productivity/Cycle time, Quality, On time delivery or a factor such as 5S/6S score. One thing the Performance target must be is measurable and preferably linked to company success. The Performance target does two things it supplies the rational minded of us of a reason why the change is happening and second it tells us what success looks like. The Status part of the Stake is the emotional reason why the change is needed. This can be anything from wanting to be viewed as the best to lessening the stress on staff and management. It will depend on the company, its culture and what challenges the company are facing.


When all three parts are in place, change will happen. There will be understanding and support at the different levels of the organization. The reward will be sufficient for staff to push through road blocks and management will act as leadership backstopping implementation and not taking No for an answers. The dollar return and performance return to the company will all depend on how good a Status / Heart reason they find.

Comments are closed.