What Are The Lean Leadership Principles?

Building a leader-led culture for operational excellence and continuous improvement


The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society – Oxford English Dictionary

Operational Excellence is heavily dependent on the right leadership culture.  Many organisations undertaking a Lean / Operational Excellence transformation make the mistake of thinking it is a simple deployment of tools to improve the process. Whereas, in fact, Lean requires a coaching culture throughout the leadership chain for those tools to work successfully on the front-line. As with the definition of culture, Lean requires leadership to define the new customs and social behaviours for Lean and Operational Excellence to truly flourish in operations being mindful of the fact that this will mean breaking existing customs and the systems that support them, shaping others to align with the principles and considerable effort in training all members of staff in the new ways of working. We don’t have to look too far beyond our own national cultures to see how long it can take for change to happen.  Some of that change comes through legislation, social pressures and so on.  The same applies with Lean in that certain principles will require their own rules to be adopted by the organisation for it to function, leading to changes in the systems, processes and ultimately, the behaviours we deploy.

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This page was written by Mark Radley in February 2018. Due for review in 2019.
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