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Lean Management: Culture, change and leadership

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A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to listen during some training sessions in Panel Sistemas to our colleagues from Thinking with you (@_twy_) in a course on Lean Management Leadership, which I would define as a “religious” experience :-), enriching, motivating and prodding consciences!

To begin with, Lean is not a work methodology, but a philosophy, a way of thinking focused on a clear objective: increase productivity and production, with QUALITY. But what we sometimes forget (very often) is to have well identified the pilar basic for which we do things, which is none other than the CUSTOMER.


"Business objectives are focused on what customers want, not what we think they need" (sic).


This analysis task is essential so that our activities are oriented to a specific purpose and on track at maximum performance, with minimum waste: do MORE, with LESS.


However, they already warned us:

Lean requires patience, and to achieve the objectives changes need to be applied that help us to be a little closer to our goal each day. Welcome to the street of changes!

And this change in mentality requires dedication and time from a series of “actors” who have to demonstrate, analyze, communicate and execute each of the identified changes to be made (The Kotter change)… And without the express support of the management, it is impossible to carry it out.

It seems obvious, but to show something that does not work and that requires gray matter and action to change, must go beyond the "sensations" and must be verified through dashboards or measurements that show us where things do not work and where it has been of applying an iterative process to obtain continuous improvement towards the path of perfection.

What do I personally take from the course? Many things 🙂 For example, it was very revealing that, in one of the exercises during the course, the people who participated had different (and very enriching!) Visions of Panel as a company. We realized that unifying a Culture in the organization is very necessary, but also complicated, and again requires the leadership of the Directorate to achieve it, little by little. For me, courses like this already represent a cultural change in themselves.

I also get a lot of personal and professional enrichment. You realize that everything adds up, that you have to be more reflective and listen to the one next to you. And that you have to be more open to change, because no matter how small it may be, you can achieve objective and measurable results.

What if we start changing this ... for this other? 

Lean Management Leadership

And in practice, how do I think I can apply what we have learned? Well I think I'll start with small changes. The first of them, put more focus on the Customer: listen to you, establish a relationship of greater trust and really give you the value you need continuously and permanently, eliminating waste. Adding value to the customer should be our only goal

The second:  gembawalk, a key piece in the continuous improvement process that consists of "walking" through our lines of work, and our users (the Client), to get in touch with the reality of production, learn about their problems first-hand and understand them in depth.

In short, all this is possible if there is express support from the management, as we said, if the culture of the company facilitates these tasks (thanks to the @PanelSistemas course) and if there is a motivated team behind that plays the appropriate roles. The "Lean dip" that they have given us has served to clear up a few doubts and stretch us out. Between all of us, we will make the journey.

As kanban reads: "Start where you are".

Cosme Gonzalez

Cosme Gonzalez

Cosme is Operations Manager at Panel Sistemas. Visit his profile on Linkedin or contact him via e-mail at this address.



  1. mnicolao11

    As kanban says: "Start where you are."

    Cosme… Have you started yet?

    (Thank you for sharing your chronicle from the inside, it is a good palliative for the envious ones who have stayed outside as observers 🙂


  2. Cosme Gonzalez

    Mr MAN,

    easy problem, difficult solution. You try to be one step ahead every day, but sometimes it seems like a step backward. I hope I have been faithful to the messages transmitted and I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the Lean world.

    Thank you!

  3. Javier Lopez-Camacho

    CONGRATULATIONS for the post, and for entering this blog through the front door.

    I am left with the union of two of your reflections: "Do your best to put yourself in the customer's shoes, with the explicit support of the Management."

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