Volume 1 / Issue 4 / May 9, 2016
A lean enterprise has to react fast as opportunities for improvement are identified.
There is no longer time to wait to run everything up the management chain or to get new ideas and strategies approved by a large bureaucracy. We have to move now, or the opportunity may be lost. Collaborative groups who know their processes and how they relate to the overall operation allow a company to be much more responsive.
Collaboration between individuals and groups is an important component of any lean strategy. Management in a lean enterprise needs to know how to establish, charter, nurture, reward, and manage collaborative groups. People need to learn what is expected of them in a collaborative environment, how to be team players, the roles and responsibilities of group members and the basic functioning of collaborative groups.
Waving a magic wand and saying you are now a collaborative group does not change ingrained behaviour. Management must determine such things as why create collaborative groups, what are the groups, are they cross functional or departmental based. Management must decide what authority the groups have. How will the groups be measured and rewarded? What about individual performers within the groups, how will they be recognized?
After management has defined the expectations and limits on the collaborative groups, the group members have to know things like the stages of group development: storming, forming, norming, performing. And they must know group roles: leader, scribe, and process observer.
An often-overlooked tool is consensus decision making.
This is a critical skill that collaborative groups have to apply everyday.
Source: AFEE Manufacturing Consortium Weekly Update, October 10, 2005