I’m excited to continue our ad- venture together on this series of articles designed to kick your butt into gear. If you’re just joining us, welcome. But, before you read
this article please go back one month
and read the first in the series (https://
You have had the last 30 days to
warm up to the idea that failure cannot only be a good thing, it can be a
great thing. You’re armed, dangerous
and ready to fail. What’s next? How
do I lead my troops into battle? Wage
war against waste? Create a fun lean
culture? Watch our business flourish?
While simultaneously blowing our
customers’ minds, and leaving the
competition wondering how we do it?
Just mount your trusty steed, draw your
sword and yell CHAAAAAARGE!
I love enthusiasm, but that’s not
exactly how we want to approach this
one. For your lean adventure to take
off, there is a significant requirement
for leadership, not autocratic leader-
ship, which is “I’m your boss, therefore
I’m your leader.”
That might not work as well as you
are hoping. You also don’t want to be
the travel agent leader, telling people
all about places they should go, but you
haven’t been there yourself.
Your people will need a leader they
want to follow. A great start to developing this is to take the trip yourself, before sending your entire organization.
Growing your people
Regardless of what you’re learning
and where the information is coming
from, in the lean community there is a
general consensus that we must grow
One of my Japanese mentors was
quoted, “Want to grow your business?
It’s easy, grow your people.”
And as we peel the growth onion,
the first step is also very logical and
simple, and I love simple, ready? (drum
roll) Grow yourself. There you go, the
keys to the castle!
But I assure you it’s much easier said
than done. There are many sayings I
love and try to live by. For the purpose
of this article, I choose these two: 1.
You get what you tolerate; and 2. Fix
what bugs you.Let me explain a little.
You get what you tolerate does not
just apply to your people. You need to
take a look in the mirror first. Stop
tolerating the mess in your office or
work area. Stop tolerating half-finished
projects you probably started with good
intensions but have left to collect dust.
Stop tolerating poor behavior. Stop
tolerating tardiness. And the list could
This leads right into “fixing what
bugs you.” If you start to let those
things bother you, then you are more
apt to go about fixing them.
Fix what bugs you
I have an amazing friend and one of
my mentors, Paul Akers. You might
have heard of this guy. I saw a post
by Brad Cairns
email@example.com LEAN JOURNEYS
How to grow your people
Ten steps to kick-start your lean journey by improving yourself and your people.
See more at the
See more columns at
✚ Want more? Read Brad Cairns columns at
Brad Cairns is the senior principal at The Center for Lean
Learning as well as running a woodworking business called
Best Damn Doors in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, where
he puts lean thinking into action every day. You can reach
Brad at 519-494-2883 or firstname.lastname@example.org.