Talcott Ridge Consulting
We are an advisory firm that coaches organizations how to effectively launch, rejuvenate, and/or enhance their lean transformation. Here, “transformation” is characterized largely by driving meaningful, sustainable, and scalable financial and operational results and growing organizational capability.
Our approach is founded and informed by principles that pull the best implementation strategies, systems, and tools appropriate for each business and value stream. In other words, 1) we recognize that organizations have their own distinct culture, market challenges, and purpose and do not and should not desire to be a Toyota clone, and 2) we have no interest in facilitating or teaching things that are not grounded in lean business principles. What are some of those lean principles?
- Starting from need. Lean necessitates profound, lasting, and near universal change in mindsets, behaviors, capabilities, focus, processes, and management systems. Because transformation and sustainment are incredibly hard work, leaders need to make sure that the effort is done and directed for the right, quantitatively and qualitatively measurable reasons: 1) strategic imperatives that help satisfy the organization’s very purpose or “True North,” 2) related performance targets (EBITDA, defect reduction, lead time compression, employee engagement, etc.), and 3) organizational learning. These reasons require a thoughtful, tailored deployment approach that engages leadership at the right levels and balances short-term impact, and implementation risk with long-term transformational goals.
- Developing capabilities. Breakthrough financial and operational performance improvement is the hallmark of a successful lean deployment, but nothing is transformational unless it is sustainable and expandable. Much of that is enabled by developing and regularly exercising the problem solving and continuous improvement (kaizen) capabilities of everyone in the organization, starting with leadership and the lean support function. To these bedrock capabilities, we add others, based upon the business’ needs, such as strategic decision making, process management, and maintaining work standards.
- Right management system combined with right leader behaviors. The management system is the glue that holds the gains and orients the entire organization for continued improvement. Much more than a collection of things like huddle boards and gemba walks, it is an integrated framework of processes, tools, and behaviors that a company uses to: 1) develop strategy and deploy it into operational actions, 2) develop and improve standardized systems and processes, 3) rapidly identify and respond to process performance, adherence, and sufficiency gaps, and 4) consistently develop and engage an organization of critically THINKING problem-solvers who exhibit the target mindsets (e.g. problems are treasures, leaders are coaches, and go and see).
- Respect for everyone. By its very nature, lean is a people-based system. While a truly lean organization challenges everyone in the workforce to achieve the target condition and get ever closer to True North, it necessarily provides an engaging learning environment that promotes the courage and creativity of its workers. Sustained courage and creativity are only possible in an organization that explicitly and implicitly recognizes the inherent dignity of the human person and treats everyone accordingly.