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If you are talking about culture, perform an exercise with the leadership team on a basic cultural assessment. I call it a Macro-PDCA cycle on culture. Organizations are not typically intentional about the culture they want to build. But if we want Lean to flourish, organizations do need to be intentional about culture. Ideally, top leaders are engaged in this exercise, but it can also work for intact teams: First visualize:

  • What does a Lean culture look like?
  • Of those Lean culture characteristics, what is missing from our culture?
  • What are we going to do to close the gaps?

Then, map out those actions on a timeline. The actions on this timeline are different for every organization, because no culture is cookie-cutter. The opportunities and strengths of each organization are different and there will be different approaches and strategies used in different organizations.

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.