INTERVIEW – The Lean Transformation Framework has become a reference for many organizations around the world. In this Q&A, Dave Brunt discusses its impact and tells us what LTF content will be available at the Lean Global Connection.
Interviewee: David Brunt, CEO, Lean Enterprise Academy – United Kingdom
Planet Lean: It’s now been a few years since the Lean Transformation Framework was introduced. Throughout this time, you have been teaching it to lean thinkers around the world. What impact has it had, in your opinion?
Dave Brunt: People who are doing lean tend to swing between an overtly tool-oriented approach to it (the technical side of Lean Thinking) and a people- and culture-focused approach (the social side). The Lean Transformation Framework (LTF) perfectly embodies that balance between social and technical that makes lean so unique and, at times, so challenging to do. Part of the beauty of the LTF is its simplicity. It is distilled and boiled down. I love how you can trace its roots back to the pioneers at Toyota who worked hard to teach its way of working and managing to suppliers and other organizations.
It’s important to point out that that, when you look at examples of organizations struggling to make lean work, you find that they are typically deficient in one or more of the LTF dimensions – even when they are brilliant at the others. For the transformation to work, you have got to think of all five dimensions, and you need activities in place that aim to answer the questions inherent to each of them.
Lean is iterative – the more you do it, the more you realize you don’t know – and the use of the Lean Transformation Framework is too. You look at what the gaps are in those five dimensions, plan experiments to close those gaps, and then start all over again – in true PDCA style. That’s the greatness of it: it is situational, fractal, and it applies to any situation. You can apply it to work in one level of the organization as easily as you can to the overall transformation of the business. More importantly, it has PDCA embedded in it.
It is great that, as the Lean Global Network, we have such a powerful framework to experiment and work with. For us, it has become a fundamental reference in our work, when we conduct research and support organizations in their transformations.
PL: I know that the contribution of the Lean Enterprise Academy at the upcoming Lean Global Connection will focus on the Lean Transformation Framework. Can you tell us more?
DB: Since the pandemic started, we have been running a series of webinars around the LTF. Given this is a Lean Global Network-organized activity and the LTF is the common research piece for us, we thought it’d important to help people to truly understand how the LTF can be used, what the five dimensions are, and how their related questions interact with one another.
Another thing we have focused on over the past 18 months is our teach posters, which we have found to be the best way to teach Lean Thinking – rather than hundreds of slides. We of course have a LTF poster (which we worked on with John Shook) and we are going to use it at the LGC, for a one-hour webinar focusing on Purpose, Process, and People. That’s going to be the first of our five sessions. As part of it, we will also have Terry O’Donoghue, an early adopter of the LTF who used it extensively to design the transformation of the Halfway Toyota group in South Africa and Botswana.
The other four presentations will focus on the dimensions of the Framework:
- What is the problem to solve? An A3 practical problem-solving webinar on the 8-step methodology. This session is being done with the Canal and River Trust charity and will include a report out of a real A3 and the process for developing capability in problem solving.
- What is the work? A standardized work webinar detailing the 3Ps of standard work.
- What capabilities do we need? This session will be in conjunction with Sequirus, the global vaccines producer looking at how they are developing capability in the wider context of the LTF.
- What leadership behaviors and management system do we need? A webinar on creating a management system and how our partners Toyotoshi Toyota in Canada have done it.
Two of the presentations will be held on Day 1 (November 29) and the other three on Day 2 (November 30). We hope to see you all there.
PL: What can attendees take home from these sessions?
DB: They will get a high-level understanding of the five dimensions of the LTF and they will then be able to start thinking about their own gaps for each of them. We can be “unconsciously incompetent” in terms of what we are trying to do. With these webinars we are helping people learn a framework so they can see what to focus on. It will help them to gauge where they are against each of the five dimensions. It won’t be just us – Lean Enterprise Academy – talking about it; as we discussed above, we will have our research partners share what they have learned from using the Framework. I have no doubt that attendees will see themselves reflected in their experience.
Join us at the Lean Global Connection to enjoy this (and much more) content for FREE. Register here.
Dave Brunt is CEO of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK.