As you work to improve efficiency and effectiveness in your firm, are you fully engaging your employees to help you? Employees can become a key ingredient to achieving world-class results if you follow the Lean Six Sigma management concept.
Lean is about harnessing the knowledge of your employees to better serve your customers, both internal and external. There is an important human element to Lean enterprises. Your firm's management, as well as your employees, must be fully committed and understand what Lean is all about. Without their buy-in and true leadership, your Lean efforts will fail. You can pick and choose certain "Lean projects," but without fully embracing Lean, you will not achieve your firm's full potential.
In a successful Lean enterprise, each employee should view him- or herself as a true stakeholder in the business. This means they are equally as important as the shareholders, owners, customers, lenders and others who depend on your business.
Management should not be the only ones challenging the status quo. Stakeholder employees will become irritated to see things that could be done more efficiently or effectively. He or she won't want to see your firm lose money or do things that will cause it to be in an uncompetitive position. This stakeholder mindset will create a culture that encourages employees to question why an ineffective or inefficient process is in place. This culture will also promote the idea of continuous improvement and the desire to achieve breakthrough ideas and further success.
Stakeholders don't just stand by and accept the status quo - they want results and are empowered to get them.
It is human nature to resist change. At first, employees may refuse to accept improvement efforts, especially if they see the change as having a negative impact on what they do. Initially, all change is viewed as bad because it requires people to do things differently. It's natural to want to protect one's turf. However, if your employees adopt the mindset of stakeholders, they will begin to take a greater interest in the success, and even survival, of your firm due to their own investment in the business.
So, are your employees stakeholders in your firm? If not, what's holding you back?