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  • Writer's pictureAngela Pearson

My Dissertation Journey- A Lean Transformation

As I bring my dissertation journey to an end, I am very thankful for the information gained through my studies. My qualitative dissertation titled, “A Phenomenological Inquiry of Self-Efficacy and Leadership Commitment during Lean Strategy Deployment,” describes the lived experiences of mid-to-senior manufacturing leaders and how they used self-efficacy and the CK method to commit, coach, motivate and embed a culture of change within their organization to sustain Lean implementation success.

The concept of Lean started in the ’90s and derived from Toyota’s Production System (TPS). Lean is a methodology that promotes the flow of value to the customer through continuous improvement and respect for people. Lean means producing what is needed when it is required with the minimum amount of materials, equipment, and labor. Formerly, Lean was known as an approach to only manufacturing processes, and now it is widely becoming a business methodology.

While some companies are successful in their Lean quest, many fail to achieve desired results. Companies who are unsuccessful should seek to identify and close the gaps that led to ineffective results. Through my three-year study, I discovered that leaders fail in Lean implementation for multiple reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of commitment at the highest level of the organization.

My studies revealed that some Lean implementation failures are a result of leaders’ lack of commitment, lack of Lean knowledge, inability to understand the effects of Lean thinking on culture, expecting Lean experts to execute the change, using “one size fits all” approaches, lack of consistent communication throughout the process, failing to equip employees with the appropriate tools or not providing employees with a safe environment to experiment and fail.

In short, senior leaders should own the Lean journey. Leadership engagement is essential in the process from beginning to end for success. If you have been involved in Lean implementation, please feel free to leave a comment on your experience or factors that either made your journey successful or unsuccessful. The sharing of knowledge is power. 

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