Volume 1 / Issue 4 / May 9, 2016
Being adaptive is one of the most critical skills for people who work for a lean enterprise.
Change — technological and social —is the hallmark of our time. Change will only accelerate once we start the lean journey. How we react to change today is, in large part, a measure of how we will fare tomorrow. Management must know how to overcome people’s resistance to change and how to help people adapt their anxiety into productive creativity. Lean people need to know how to adapt the changing environment to their advantage.
They both need to know how to recognize reactions to change and channel those reactions into contributions or change them. This is not change management, of which much has been written, but skills for individuals to adapt to a changing world.
When customer demands are constantly shifting, products and processes must change to support each new customer order. Lean people are able to adapt to these changes and execute faster than ever before. Changing processes also means that our roles and responsibilities will change with greater frequency. Lean people can adapt to these sudden and frequent changes in their work lives.
There is a continuum of reaction to change from resistance to positive acceptance of the change. We can identify where we or someone else is on that continuum by observing behaviour in a change situation. There are tools that can be used to help people progress through the continuum. Becoming adaptive begins by identifying where a person is on the change acceptance continuum. Then we can select and apply the corresponding tool to move them to the next stage.
The lean enterprise must have people who are skilled at being adaptive and at helping others adapt.
Source: AFEE Manufacturing Consortium Weekly Update, October 10, 2005