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Often people will attend a class about lean, usually a basics class, and on the last day feel a little overwhelmed with what they are going to do when they return to their workplace. There are stories about positive results that have been experienced after training. Here are a few things that increase the probability of have good results using lean after your initial training:

  • Get started right away.  Choose something you can do within the first 5 days after returning to work.  The sooner you put something into practice the more likely you will be to build the learning into skills.
  • Keep it simple.  We love big wins and “homeruns.” This could be a trap when starting your personal lean journey.  Choose something simple to start with such as a waste walk, direct observation of a challenging or frustrating part of your process, do a product process map of one part of your responsibilities, use 5 why’s, conduct an After Action Review.
  • Make it worthwhile.  Try your new way of thinking or tools to something you need to do anyway.  So often people think of lean as extra work in addition to their “real work.”  You knew what your goals were and where improvements were needed before you went to your lean class.  Apply you new thinking to opportunity areas to avoid wasting time.
  • Let people know what you are doing and why.  You will want to consider the culture and your team’s exposure to lean to decide how much lingo you will use.  In addition, be careful of over promising the benefits at this point.  However, having members of your team know what you have been doing, why the training is important, and how they might see the benefit of the use of lean, and what help you will need for  them is essential.  Ask to see if there are a few people who would be interested in learning more or working with you on a few simple projects.
  • Keep notes.  Often you will hear or see opportunities to use lean before you are ready to pursue them.  Write it down.  You will be surprised how helpful the list will be as you develop and expand your skills and those of your team as you start your lean journey.