My friend Mark over at the Lean Blog posted a respect for people question from a question he saw on the Lean Insider blog.
For those new to this blog, respect for people is an extremely important aspect of lean. In fact many would say it is the most important aspect. I would agree.
However, I sometimes wonder if the whole respect for people aspect of lean gets carried away from time to time. I blogged about this before when we discussed whether laying people off was really anti-lean. Now, as I explained after posting that article laying people off as a result of “lean activity” is the surest way to kill the initiative. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would argue that.
But what if Toyota offers to relocate its worker to another American city (e.g. San Antonio, Kentucky, etc.) instead of staying in California? Would that be respectful enough? What if they also offer, to those not wanting to relocate, a sweet severance package on top of 90 additional days on the payroll where the employee could search for another job with the help of Toyota Human Resources and career counselors. Would that work?
For some I am sure the only move Toyota can make in order to be “respectful” is to stay in CA and work to become more competitive. After all, they will claim, Toyota wrote the book on respecting people so how dare they let that silly “for profit” aspect of their business model get in the way.
Ah hell, I don’t know. What do you think?