Welcome to another edition of the Lean Thinker Challenge! It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these and I’m excited to hear what you think!
You’ve worked at the same company for 4 years as a Lean Specialist. You don’t especially like your formal title since the word “specialist” is used… but it is what it is.
The company consists of around 100 people. Total annual revenue is around $32 million. You’re the only dedicated lean specialist in the company but others definitely join in with kaizen events, projects, etc. But, from a full time perspective, you’re the only dedicated resource.
Your normal duties consist of teaching other associates about lean and six sigma through workshops and formal classes that run from a few days to a few weeks. You also facilitate kaizen events and coach others through their own projects.
You’ve seen some success and people don’t run the other way when they see you coming around the corner. In fact, there are times when people approach you for advice or flat out ask for your help. You love this part of your job.
Unfortunately, there is one aspect of your job that’s less than ideal… your boss.
When they created your role they didn’t know where to put you so they decided to have you report to the VP of Sales & Operations. Now, to be fair, your boss is a nice enough guy but, unfortunately, he’s never really bought into the whole “lean thing.”
And, most recently, you even overheard him make a sarcastic comment about how we should just “lean every process out so all our problems go away.” His tone and attitude let you know he wasn’t serious and you just couldn’t help but wonder where the negativity is coming from.
How should you handle the situation? Should you engage your boss somehow or just ignore the situation and hope he simply comes around? After all, you do have a job that’s paying the bills.
What do you think?