Posted by: Knightbird | April 16, 2015

Lean Is Slowly Creeping Into Alaska

I browsed through the category of Lean jobs at just for curiosity. I was pleased to see two of my former employers listing Lean skills in a couple of job postings. That was a surprise from one of them. I had been asked while employed there whether it was a requirement for my managers to use. The chairman of the board asked me that question. My response was that executive level managers had a choice, but they would be held to the same improvement standards as other executive level managers. He didn’t like that answer. However, I had encountered political responses to Lean before, and in my experience they could not keep up. I had been promised the freedom to select my executives, and had chosen to work with the ones I had with one exception. Then the chairman withdrew that freedom and left me with a couple of politically motivated executives.

Alaska Communication Systems is fully immersed in a Lean Implementation but it is the only private business I am aware of at the present time. I had been working with Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey on using Lean Government if he was elected. That possibility is now gone. Both remaining candidates are politicians and unlikely to understand or adopt Lean Government.

There are a couple of other listings for Lean managers, but I am not aware of anyone who understands a cultural and strategic implementation of Lean. What we generally find are CEO’s who want to delegate the responsibility to someone else. That rarely works because of heavy resistance and the lack of a systems approach to improvement. One of our Native health organizations tried Six Sigma, but that effort failed from what I can see. Six Sigma is not a culture of improvement.

I continue to talk to others, but most fail to understand how to properly introduce Lean.

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