Why leadership and team behaviors are essential to achieve excellence

Many organizations seek to improve performance in a sustainable way. R&D departments are no different. Lean offers a holistic approach to improve: holistic, because it does not only contain methods & tools – it also contains the glue that makes improvement stick: a system of team and leader behaviors that enable them to sustain and even continuously improve their performance. LeanPD implementations should therefore balance the two aspects:

  • Implementation of a set of methods and tools mostly specific to the situation: manufacturing for example has SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). Similarly, the toolbox for lean in product development contains for example SBE (Set Based Engineering), rapid learning cycles, chief engineers and visual planning methods.
  • Implementation of a set of behaviors that make improvement stick. This set of behaviors is more generic for all lean systems (such as lean manufacturing, lean office, lean healthcare or lean product development). These behaviors are for example daily management using visual boards, adherence to standards, consistently training on standards, kamishibai (checking on the use of standards) and kaizen (improvement by everyone, everywhere, every time).