What's In It For YOU To Go Lean?

Jon Wetzel, at the Lean for Everyone blog gives some ideas on how to get everybody interested in implementing lean into their workplace by making it affecting them personally.

“WIIFM” or “What’s In It For Me” is the basis for much of what people do both consciously and subconsciously.  As lean trainers we need to use this to our advantage when trying to transform a company.

He suggests lean managers focus on the “WIIFM” attitude that all humans have, or the “What’s in it for me?” instinct.  He also suggests that lean leaders offer workers incentives for contributing ideas or changing things that improve efficiency or general money-savings, give pay based on “stable processing metrics,” or even give promotions based on an employee’s utilization and understanding of lean philosophy.

I agree with Wetzel on targeting basic human emotions (he goes on a bit of a tangent about employees who also have the instinct to cover for themselves when things hit the fans), but I don’t know if the ideas he gives are fully-fleshed out.  Performance-based pay seems kind of subjective, mainly because he didn’t really explain what the “stable process metrics” are, and giving bonuses or incentives for implementing changes that create long-term money-savings is kind of vague.

In my experience, lean needs to be something that is maintained, via direct managerial motivation, a plant-wide cultural shift, and constant positive affirmation.  Obviously, just like what Wetzel supports, lean needs to appeal to people, and rewarding folks for their active participation can never hurt, but it shouldn’t be the only way of motivating people.  Good leadership and an expectation that this is how things will be done should be the main way lean is implemented and sustained.  But that’s just my opinion.

To form your own opinion, read more at the Lean for Everyone blog =>