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High PerformanceLean is more than tools & Kaizen……real lean is all about growing people & helping people to perform at their very best, in the way “they” perform at their best.

If the tools we teach people constrain how they perform, if they are introduced without regard to teaching thinking, resourcefulness and systemising how people work, then something is missing.

If your lean program is not focused on developing your people through the improvement process, it’s not “real lean”

Who wouldn’t want to perform at their best…. we all love to be in the zone where we know we are making a difference, we are changing things that help ourselves and our economy, we are contributing, we feel productive and we know we are adding value through the work we do.

Have you heard of The Six Human Needs, what every person feels deep inside, the psychology of human performance. The need for certainty and security and familiarity, but also the need for surprise and variety, adventure and challenge. The need for significance and uniqueness, but also the need for being part of a community and belonging or love and connection. The need for growth and learning, and the need for contribution and making a difference. Without an understanding of the six human needs, and how to help humans perform, applying lean tools out of context is likely to to miss out on its potential.

The Six Human Needs

Certainty and Uncertainty

Significance and Belonging

Growth and Contribution

Have you noticed, there is polarity between these needs and there is a need for balance and establishing context and timing as the need is both expressed and desired by an individual.

Much of lean education is stifling how people perform, delivered by consultants who don’t understand the bigger picture of the human performer, and are focused on cutting costs without grasping the true impact of “how” they are implementing Toyota’s methodologies. There is nothing wrong with the tools and techniques, but the way they are educated and implemented can make a huge difference in the results and how people feel about what they are doing.

Lean is not the best word for describing what Toyota brought to the business world, in fact “Lean” is not a common word used in that company. I believe words and phrases such Creating Customer Value, Enabling People to Perform, Systemising Your Activities, fit better for me, than than the term lean.

Click on and have a look at our Releasing Time to Lead Program it is specifically designed around helping managers to outperform their competition.