Openness and action orientation

This element focuses on an open and safe culture and encourages self-responsibility. In an open organization, there is constructive dialogue between management and employees. Another characteristic is that employees enjoy going to work every day.

Organizations that embrace Lean move away from the traditional Top-Down approach and follow the Lean Leadership model of the inverted pyramid. They implemented a Bottom-Up approach to mobilize the full capacity of staff on the shop floor. The inverted pyramid is a metaphor for an inversion of the traditional management structure. Employees closest to customers or operational processes are placed at the top and managers at the bottom. Shop floor personnel are empowered with greater decision-making power and freedom of action. The manager’s role changes to one of facilitator and coach.

“Discuss, Decide, Do”

This Bottom-Up approach will improve flexibility and productivity for problem solving, especially for so-called “low-hanging fruit” projects where there is no need for senior management involvement to identify and implement solutions. Problems are solved by the employees who experience these problems themselves every day. It is for their own benefit that these problems are solved because it makes their lives easier. The employees on the shop floor have the creativity and ideas to solve the problems, but in the traditional organization they are often not involved or encouraged to do the same.

Openness and action orientation focuses on the following elements

  • Employees enjoy going to work every day.
  • Employees are involved in important decisions and projects.
  • The organization constitutes an open and safe working environment for employees.
  • Results are easily measurable and monitored on an ongoing basis.
  • The organization is results-oriented rather than task-oriented.

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