Governments across the country are embracing Lean Culture with fantastic results. If you are part of a state or local agency and you haven’t yet started your Lean Journey, the time to start is now!
Why Is Lean Culture Valuable?
Many of the organizations we serve use the term “Lean Culture” interchangeably with the phrase “Being a Healthy Organization.”
Organizations that exhibit a high percentage of the “Lean Culture characteristics” shown in the graphic are commonly described as “healthy,” “high-performing,” and “great places to work.” While the individual personalities of healthy organizations of course vary a great deal, something they all share is a focus on achieving three key outcomes:
- Engaged Employees
- Delighted Customers
- Satisfied Stakeholders
The Four Pillars of Lean Culture
The Four Pillars® offers a highly effective framework for structuring holistic organizational change efforts. The Four Pillars model defines Lean Culture as an organizational culture in which the values and behaviors are aligned with the guiding principles of Lean Management, in which employees are engaged, customers are delighted and stakeholders are satisfied.
To bring greater clarity to this definition, we turn to two undisputed experts in the field of organizational design. First, according to John Kotter, Harvard Business School professor and author of the best selling book Leading Change, organizational culture consists of “group norms of behavior and the underlying shared values that help keep those norms in place.” Second, Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, described principles as “fundamental truths.” Building on these explanations of culture and principles, we can outline a set of guiding principles for Lean Management, with the understanding that when an organization consistently reflects these principles in their values and behaviors, a Lean Culture can be achieved. These principles form the foundation of The Four Pillars model.
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