Posted by: Knightbird | October 4, 2011

Lean For Tribal Governments

The National Congress of American Indians, through their Executive Director, Jackie Johnson-Pata, recognizes that Tribal Governments will need to do a far better job of managing what are sure to become even more scarce resources under the current Congress and the next Congress. Budget battles that are currently underway will continue with more intensity, and we ordinary citizens have little confidence that funding will even remain static. In order to help prepare tribal governments for this new future, she has asked me to prepare a breakout session on Lean Tribal Government. Here is the description from the preliminary Agenda.

“What Tribal Governments Need to Know About Lean Management – B114

Tribal citizens need high-quality and effective programs today more than ever. The federal funding environment means reduced funding and the need to reduce services is a real possibility. Tribal leaders and managers do not need to cut; instead, you can improve productivity and quality using a proven management system referred to as “Lean Thinking.” This management approach focuses on Respect for People, Creating Value, Continuous Improvement, and Elimination of Waste. Participants will hear from a tribal executive using this approach with great success, and the expert who taught him.

Patrick Anderson, Executive Director, Chugachmiut

Tom Jackson, Author, Teacher, and Consultant on “Lean Thinking” (Dr. Jackson is invited and not yet confirmed)

My goal is to share what has been extremely effective for Chugachmiut with the rest of Indian Country. I have written about the relative lack of success I have had in persuading executives in the Alaska Tribal Health System to adopt lean healthcare. Maybe I will have more success in the Lower 48. What’s that biblical passage? You can’t be a prophet in your own home town. (It’s actually Luke 4:24).

The session is about 3 ½ hours long at the NCAI Annual Convention in Portland Oregon, October 30-November 5, 2011. I look forward to helping tribal governments achieve results for their tribal members. Lean works.


  1. It’s great that you are continuing to spread the Lean message. I wrote a related post today on Lean government — how the goal should be quality and effectiveness, as you said, not just cost reduction:

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