Music as a Framework to Better Understand Lean Leadership
May 24, 2013 Editor 0
Purpose – To explain why most senior managers have great difficulty comprehending and correctly practicing the Lean management system, thereby handicapping their ability to lead enterprise-wide Lean transformations; to describe the depth and richness of relationships between the Lean management system and music; to help improve practitioners’ understanding of Lean management and how to learn it; and to help senior managers recognize the need to personally apply Lean principles and practices daily to become capable Lean leaders.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative examination of various characteristics of the Lean management system and music, based in part on author’s experience implementing Lean in manufacturing and service businesses, and also in learning to play music over a nine-year period.Findings – The Lean management system and music share numerous similarities, including the difficulty most people encounter learning each discipline. Highlights the importance of daily practice by senior managers to learn and understand Lean management in order to capably lead enterprise-wide Lean transformations, and to recognize and correct problems in Lean thinking and practice among themselves and others.
Research limitations/implications – Elucidation of the deep similarities between Lean and music does not answer the fundamental question of how to increase the number of senior managers who are interested in becoming capable Lean leaders.
Practical implications – Provides an answer to the question of why it is so difficult for senior managers, and others, to correctly understand and practice the Lean management system. Clarifies the deep level of personal understanding, leadership involvement, and daily routines required to have greater success with Lean management. Originality/value – Presents a novel approach to understanding the Lean management system by using music as the framework. Shows how effective Lean leadership is more the result of daily practice than it is of the personal attributes normally associated with capable leadership. The deep similarities between Lean management and music have not been previously described in the literature.
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