To most people, the concept of becoming “lean” connotes having less or doing more with less. For example, I am 35 pounds leaner than I was fifteen months ago. My company is managing more associations today with fewer employees than we did two years ago – we are leaner. To many businesspeople the concept of lean is also associated primarily with manufacturing businesses. It’s a concept that’s applied to the operations of the business, not to leadership.
I read an article recently about a book called The Lean CEO. You can read the article here.
I think the concept of the lean CEO is interesting. In fact, it mirrors many of the same leadership traits we often discuss in this blog. The author of the article suggests that lean isn’t just a cost-cutting thing, or only applicable to manufacturing. Instead, he believes lean is a cultural change that brings about success for the employees and the business.
Here are a couple of the key concepts of lean:
- It creates an environment that is motivating to workers by involving them in making the business better.
- It is about continuous improvement and involves everyone in that process.
- It improves productivity but not by asking people to work harder and longer but getting them to work together as a team.
- It’s about respecting people. The teammates, the customers, management.
Sound familiar? These are all concepts we have come to know and expect from great leaders.
Perhaps we should be talking more about Leanership. I plan to read The Lean CEO.