Organizational Focus Areas

Organizational Focus Areas

“The Lean Business System focuses on four key organizational areas to deliver maximum results for Hawaii organizations… Strategy, Tactics, Operations and Innovation.”

By applying specific Lean tools to every level of the organization, the Lean Business System component parts and interrelated steps work together for the good of the whole to help create the 15% to 20% improvement year after year.

  • Leadership must start with a common definition of what success means
  • Drive better performance
  • Create exceptional employee engagement committed to working smarter, not harder
  • Good problem solving is the road to improvement
  • Remove stress and make it easy—continuous improvement happens at a pace we can sustain
  • Deliver exceptional results, value and innovation in the eyes of your customers

The four organizational focus areas below work together to help achieve the goals of Lean adoption and Continuous Improvement in Hawaii.





Strategy = Lean Leadership (Strategic Intent)

“By providing goals, priority and focus Leaders give their Intent, relying on the organization to determine what needs to be done to achieve them”

In many successful organizations, including many large organizations here in Hawaii, managing by Intent is the preferred and most effective leadership style. This is the leadership approach built into the Lean Business System.

Inspiring Organization to Achieve Its Vision

Intent is high-level statements of the means by which your organization will achieve its Vision. It is a statement of design for creating a desirable future (stated in present terms) that your organization wants to achieve in the long term.

Strategic Intent is a statement of the course that senior management plans to take the entire organization in the future.

Leader Intent is a statement of the direction any leader plans to take his or her team or organization forward to achieve its goals. It is essential that everyone understand these intentions so they can work consistently and in the same direction to achieve the organizations goals.

Unlike a traditional Strategic Planning process that often defines key targets, dates and milestones by senior leadership; Strategic Intent provides organizational focus, priority and direction on high level goals. It leaves the specific details of “What”, “How Much” and “When” to the lower level teams based on their deep understanding and the capabilities of the organization. Because Strategic Intent does not provide the granularity often found in traditional Strategy Deployment organizations, it is essential that the entire organization must be crystal clear and in agreement about what senior leadership is expecting of them and for the organization as a whole.

The Lean Business System fully supports Strategic Intent and Leader Intent by applying a structured step-by-step approach for sharing Strategic Intent by the development of Cascading Plans and Team Roadmaps using a back-and-forth, team oriented approach to ensure everyone (management and workers) are in full agreement on what will be done, by who and when to achieve the organization’s goals. The results are deep employee engagement and personal commitment by each member of the team.

Interested in learning more?

Lean Tools & References

Tactics = Lean Management (Leader Standard Work)

Leader Standard Work, also known as Lean Management, is a structured and highly efficient fact-based management process that is essential in achieving the 15% to 20% annual benefits possible for an effective Lean organization.

Leader Standard Work or Lean Management is an approach to running an organization that supports the concept of continuous improvement, a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.

It seeks to eliminate any waste of time, effort or money by identifying each step in a business process and then revising or cutting out steps that do not create value. The philosophy has its roots in manufacturing but applies equally well for all type of organizations.

Guiding principles include:
– Defining value from the standpoint of the end customer.
– Identifying each step in a business process and eliminating those steps that do not create value.

– Making the value-creating steps occur in tight sequence.

– Repeating the first three steps on a continuous basis until all waste has been eliminated.

Leader Standard Work includes the tasks that all leaders do to support an effective Lean organization. Its a closed loop system that creates a fact-based process focus to drive improvement. It relies on a disciplined approach to Strategy Deployment, Visual Controls, Daily Accountability and Leader Standard Work to transform the people with a focus on eliminating waste from every process and adding value in the eyes of the customer.

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Lean Tools & References

Operations = Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

“Simply put, Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is a never-ending-process of creating a standard way to do something, following it, and then finding a better way”

Change doesn’t just have to happen through major and traumatic change initiatives that cause organizational upheavals. These large changes cause everyone affected by that change to go through a large change process that has the potential to even cause some of your most valuable people to leave. Lean presents an alternative through Kaizen which is to incorporate change into the way you work. Change becomes what you do as we put in place a structured and safe environment for everyone in the organization north south east and west to influence and participate in change. The word Kaizen strictly translated from Japanese, usually 改善 かいぜん is no more than a neutral and simple word that corresponds to “improvement” or “refinement” in other nations like the United States we have added the word continuous to add richness in our understanding. Always seeking to improve, is so embedded in Japanese culture that no additional qualifiers are required to confer meaning.

Kaizen is based on the philosophical belief that everything can be improved: Some organizations look at their processes and see that it’s running just the way it was designed; Organizations that follow the principle of Kaizen always see a process that can be improved. This means that nothing is ever seen as a status quo – there are continuous efforts to improve which result in small, often imperceptible, changes over time. It is important to understand at this point that Kaizen is a philosophy not a tool. There are tools that are applied in the pursuit of Kaizen which we will explore a little later.

Another Japanese term associated with kaizen is muda, which means waste. Kaizen is aimed at decreasing waste through eliminating transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-production, over-processing, defects and skills under-utilized. These wastes are pursued and eliminated relentlessly in a culture of continuous improvement.

Some leaders in the service industry can wrongly believe that Lean and therefore the elimination of these wastes is strictly a manufacturing thing. In fact these wastes can be easily identified in any organization once you develop the eyes to see it.

Interested in learning more?

Lean Tools & References

Innovation = Voice of the Customer

“Lean innovation is a more efficient and lower risk learning approach to delivering innovation that is valuable in the eyes of your customers”

Your customers look to you to define the future—to deliver innovative products, services and solutions that address their most pressing needs. You should be pursuing out-of-the box ideas, both large and small that add value in the eyes of your customers and makes a difference.

Lean innovation embraces a philosophy of not letting perfection get in the way of progress. It leverages the Pareto principle that 20% of a product’s features (what’s distilled down into the minimal viable product) will most likely deliver 80% of the benefits sought by customers. Lean innovation is a more efficient and lower risk learning approach to innovation.

Interested in learning more?

Lean Tools & References