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Lean Leadership – Managing the Impact of Change through Respect for People

Just recently, I taught a class about ‘Managing the Impact of Change.’ As I was preparing for and delivering the class, I started to think about how deeply the ‘Respect for People’ philosophy needs to be tied into any change management process.

If you follow the Deming Cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) and the Toyota philosophy of ‘Plan Slowly, Do Quickly’ it becomes clear that a big outcome of these ideas, is the minimisation of disruption and the negative impact of change on the people that are affected by it.

When we spend time carefully understanding the current state, going to the place of work (Gemba), talking to people, visualising the future state and planning our change accordingly, we show respect.

When we spend time diligently working towards finding the root cause of an issue and developing solutions that will eliminate problems permanently, we show our teams that band aid solutions are not what we are about.

When we communicate changes to our teams as being experiments first, we help them understand that we respect their feedback and will take it into account before making final decisions.

We we spend time carefully monitoring and checking our experiments and seeking feedback from those affected before moving forwards we show diligence and a high factor of care for our teams.

All of these actions during the change management process communicate clearly to our team members that we see them. In a previous post, I talk about the importance of making people visible and this is just as important when making changes to processes or work areas.

I mean, how would you feel if your neighbour walked into your living space and rearranged your furniture so it would look better to them from their living room window? That would just be weird.

So don’t be the weird neighbour. Plan, implement and monitor your change experiments properly and with respect and your team will thank you with great culture and motivation.



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