Monday, February 1, 2010

Are We Too Lean

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal was questioning the "Lean" manufacturing system. A valid question. Have we reduced our "x" (insert: costs, people, suppliers, insert anything that's applicable), to the point of losing quality or even efficiencies?

As a organizational structure and process expert, I'm all for efficiencies. I'm also a fan of Jim Collins. In his book, "Good to Great," he expresses having the right people on the bus. Also, it's important, in having the right people in the right seats on the bus. But, what happens when you take seats out of the bus?

In one of my organizations, I proved we could add people and reduce overhead, by having the right people in the right places. Do you?


In last pages of Leonard Sweet's book, "The Three Hardest Words in the World to Get Right," he struck home many points I've covered in my blogs, but none more rooted than diversity. Here are some poignant quotes from the book:
  • "Every one of us is different, even when we're doing the same thing."
  • "Cloning is the abolishment of diversity. And think about organizational cloning and social cloning, as segments of our culture celebrate enforced sameness."
  • "Sometimes it's our eccentricities that prod us into our greatest contributions."
Interesting he used the word, "cloning." My same word describing many companies hiring practices. Doing what you've always done, will get you what you already have.

I love this last quote!
  • "Sameness is a one-way ticket to extinction."
WaterBrook Press