Using Lean as a Growth Strategy

If you are successful at implementing Lean, it is simply not Lean. It’s yours.

I first studied TQM back in nineteen-eighties which served as my precursor for Lean. Along the way, I was primarily influenced by Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints and Systems Thinking. I always found my roots and practices best associated with Lean. I never read a book or even knew Lean existed till the nineties but became an avid student and practitioner. In retrospect, I have been doing Lean for over thirty years. I just never called it that; it was just simply what I did.

This week, April 22nd thru the 26th, we will concentrate on how to grow, or scale-up your small business. I will be scaling-up the entire week culminating in a webinar, The Lean Scale Up, which is followed by a period of Q & A on the afternoon of April 26th. Only registered participants will be invited to webinar and Q & A. Lean Scale Up

I start out the week introducing what I call the Lean 3P version of Growth: Process, People, Product/Service. We will devote a blog post to each of the 3Ps and break down into 2 more areas of focus, Budgetary and Customer Development.

  • Monday: The Lean Process based on SDCA, PDCA, EDCA*
  • Tuesday: People as related to Structure, Culture and Learning
  • Wednesday: We will view Products (or Services) from a perspective of Goods (Product) Dominant Logic, Service Dominant Logic and the product/services that have not been created.
  • Thursday: We will move to a perspective of how to develop and implement a Budget that makes provisions for growth. When you view most budgets they are almost always cost-related with little identification for resources that clearly set aside for growth. This budget is truly the fuel for innovation.
  • Friday: We will look at growth strategies from the Customer Development viewpoint. We will touch upon Retention, Penetration and Acquisition. Friday, at noon, will be a thirty-minute webinar followed by a session of Q & A.

Lean is introduced as a growth strategy through the processes of SDCA, PDCA and EDCA. This three step process for using Lean is defined in this way:

  1. Standard Work (SDCA): Define core business and put the majority of company resources into the core until it achieves its full potential.
  2. Continuous Improvement (PDCA): Most big ideas are made up of a series of successful smaller ideas driven by a simple and repeatable business model.
  3. New Markets and Products (EDCA): After defining what it cannot do and exploring what it may want to do?

Lean is not a prescription. It is not the ultimate growth strategy for everyone. It is not easy. For more information, read this blog post (If less than 1% of companies are successful with Lean).

Lean sets the ideal, however, you must understand your organization, the culture that exists and the culture that your customers expect and are willing to derive value from. You have to make the process your own. You have to rid yourself of Lean or other business processes. Successful companies that start down a Lean path are not Lean anymore, only the unsuccessful ones are. If you are successful at implementing Lean, it is simply not Lean. It’s yours.

I would recommend the Leadership podcast category that contains eBooks and links to the accompanying podcast for more information.

Dr. Eric Reidenbach the creator of the 5Cs of Driving Market Share program allowed me to offer the audio section of the program on the Business901 Blog last week. An outline of last weeks activities:

5Cs of Driving Market Share Program

*EDCA (Explore – Do – Check – Act (Learned from @GrahamHill)

More about the Event: Grow your Small Business with Lean

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