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First and foremost, identify how a Lean program ties into the strategic objectives of an organization. Building capability does cost money and take time, so you want to make sure you’re aligned with company goals or it will be difficult to launch either. Does your organization have strategic goals around employee engagement, continuous improvement, or operational excellence? If so, these are a good linkage to strategic areas and Lean. In manufacturing, a very successful approach has been to set up a model line where a production line is set up using many tools for single-piece flow to demonstrate proof of concept, and then working on a sustainability plan next moving into other parts of the organization.

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. She is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Instructor at UC San Diego and teaches in San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise Program. For almost 20 years, she has helped leading organizations like Washington State, Charles Schwab and GE build problem-solving muscles.