Leaders that leverage lean enterprise concepts are a different breed. The focus on creating value for their customers by eliminating waste, simplifying processes, and especially leveraging the knowledge, creativity, and experience of their teams.
Effective lean leadership systems are simple and very visual. Effective lean leaders are humble, questioning, and spend the majority of their time teaching and coaching where value is created - at the gemba.
I have led lean transformations at a wide variety of organizations in many industries, ranging from telecom to medical devices and the process industries, as well as two of my own startup companies. My last two roles have been at the senior executive level, including president of a medium-sized contract manufacturing business. There are many consultants who can train on the basics of lean, but there are few who can help senior executives transform their organizations - from someone who has been in their shoes.
As opposed to traditional leadership, zen leadership is more holistic, encompassing the total leader – personal and professional. The result can be greater success in all aspects of your life, at work, at home, or at play. Zen leadership is based on:
- Authenticity – the linkage between who we are and what we do
- Passion – the vision that envigorates us and gives people something to follow
- Integrity – the credibility that makes people trust in our leadership
- Curiosity – the belief that all things are possible, and nothing is impossible
- Humility – the knowledge that no one gets anywhere without others
Effective leadership is not just about leading people and organizations, but also leading and balancing yourself. Leadership, both professional and personal, can be simplified through a combination of lean and zen methods and tools.
In most of my lean leadership consulting engagements, especially at the executive level, I have found leaders who could dramatically improve their performance by simplifying their personal and professional environments. In many cases the traditional consulting quickly changed to a coaching arrangement. Learning how to simplify, focus, and reflect can tame the chaos.
Although I prefer to work in person, phone consultations can still be effective. Current executive clients come from a variety of organizations and industries, including e-health, education, manufacturing, and even consulting.