One of the hardest things to do during a lean transformation is change the mindsets of the employees. Usually for good reason. In the past, the employees have probably not been asked for their ideas or when asked for ideas they were never acted upon or told those weren’t the type of ideas they are looking for. During a lean transformation one of the top priorities is to get the employees engaged in problem solving.
How many times have you heard, “We have done that before and it didn’t work.” Or “That won’t work, because…..” I spent years hearing those type of comments. Then about 3 years ago I came across a great idea to change the mindset. People are not allowed to say “No…..because…….” they have to say “Yes…..if……..”
I have made this one of the rules of every improvement event that I facilitate. It is a subtle change that adds a positive spin on the whole event. I have to point out when someone might need to flip their statement but it works really well. You go from “That won’t work because we can’t see what work is coming to us.” To “That can work if we can see the work that is coming to us.” That slight flip in thought then spurs other questions about how the group can see the work coming to them and before you know it, they have come up with a countermeasure and something to try.
Give it a try and see how it works for your groups.