Fifty managers gather every morning for a 30-minute Lean manufacturing meeting. They stand on factory floor, stretch, share production information, and pledge to eliminate waste and continuously improve. Regardless of their gender, age, physical condition or title, they enthusiastically engage in an effort that is bigger than any individual role or responsibility. If Lean manufacturing can excite such a response, what can the same approach achieve, if it focuses on people’s health and well-being?
“Lean” is an operational excellence strategy that enables organizations to continuously improve. I have observed it in auto manufacturing plants, including Toyota who developed the system following World War II. An American, W. Edwards Deming, advised them: “It is not necessary to change. Survival in not mandatory.” American manufacturers did not heed Deming’s advice. Only after Toyota’s meteoric rise did U.S. companies start paying attention to Lean principles. Today, it is practiced throughout the world in almost every industry.
Deming’s prophetic comment could be applied to the state of health in America. We don’t need to change, but, if we don’t reverse course, our physical and fiscal health will continue on their precipitous decline. It’s time for “Lean Wellness” – a continuous improvement strategy at work that grows from the bottom up and trusts people to come up with solutions to improve their health and well-being. The foundation will be small support teams of people who learn from and support one another in healthy lifestyle behaviors. Team members will inspire each other to continuously improve and eliminate unhealthy behaviors (waste) from their lives. Their actions will lead to small successes. Small successes will grow into larger achievements. Lives and workplaces will be transformed. Families will be touched. Over time, the larger society will be impacted. It’s time for Lean Wellness!
M. J. White is the creator of “Lean Wellness”, a radically different approach to transforming health and wellbeing at work. It is inspired from the top-down, but driven from the bottom-up by continuous learning and improvement. The result is lasting behavior change in people and a more productive work environment. To learn more, visit the website at: www.leanwellness.us or email M. J. directly at: email@example.com