Episode 183 •
2nd November 2020 • American Lean Weekday: Leadership | Lean Culture & Intrapreneurship | Lean Methods | Industry 4.0 | Case Studies • Tom Reed: Lean Enthusiast & President of American Lean
Some great things are coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. One is the digitization of many businesses that need to evolve. This requires leaders to evolve and adapt as well. Operating in large silos and departments is hard to accomplish in a digital environment. Here is what future leadership looks like.
1. Manage across a value stream
Having leaders within departments focus on their piece of the business will be harder to do when customers want goods and services quicker and delivered with increased convenience. Imagine a business with 10 different departments and a product has to journey through each department before going to the customer.
Problems arise in the product's delivery because of two of the departments. Who is accountable to fix the problems? The department leaders? What if they take weeks to look into the issues? The customer still isn’t getting what they want.
A value stream is the processes required to bring about a good or service to a customer. This can be an internal or external customer. When leaders have control of an entire value stream, they can drive change quickly to meet the needs of their customers.
2. More diverse and inclusive
A study by MIT shared that companies with a diversity of gender, race, and other factors had increased revenue of 41%. Having this mix of experience and perspectives allows companies to be more creative, conduct better problem solving, and post higher returns than companies that all look alike.
Think of a baseball team that consists of only catchers. Sure they can share equipment, tell great stories amongst each other and, relate to each other. They probably won’t be as successful as companies with a mix of skills.
3. Intrapreneurial focused
I say this a lot in my blogs and podcasts. Identifying and developing intrapreneurs is important if your company is going to be at the forefront of developing new products and services. Especially today, what used to work great, probably won’t cut it.
Good ideas won’t come from only your C-suite or maybe not your next layer down. At a certain point, people focus on protection not being creative. Look everywhere for people with great ideas and put an infrastructure in place to support internal intrapreneurs.
4. Create supportive environments
Leadership is more than a title. Do people follow you because they have to or because you’ve developed a supportive, trusting, and rewarding environment? Have you developed a culture where employees want to be a part of and thrive?
Great leaders do three things: Cast a vision, hire the absolute best talent they can, and make sure everyone has the drive and support to succeed. Make yourself available to those you lead as a servant leader. This is what future leadership looks like.
As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!