When we decided to really commit to becoming LEAN at Benchmark, we knew we would have an extra challenge since our team is spread throughout the world. Could we realistically teach the concept of Lean to our team of 140+ Benchmarkers who operate in 9 languages and 8 time zones? More importantly, could we build a LEAN culture that would come to permeate how we make decisions and the way we work every day? These were important questions our Leadership Team had to answer.
We had already assembled our Lean Squad so now we had to land on how we would go about making Lean part of our daily lives. We needed to drive home the lean message of continuous improvement. We already had daily huddles and scrums and weekly Level 10 meetings for our various teams. But we did not have a standing meeting that everyone in the company attended every day. Would it really be possible to commit to meeting every work day in every one of our offices in the world? Could we afford the loss of time? The answer was absolutely! In fact, we could not afford to NOT meet, especially if we wanted to have a true lean transformation. We saw this as an investment in our team and we hoped they would see it the same way.
I was especially concerned about our developers. They tend to be very smart, matter of fact, black and white and not very touchy feely. I could just imagine them saying ‘Why the heck are we wasting time on this? I’ve got code to write!’
We decided we would meet every day for 19 minutes, so we named our meeting Lean 19. Each of the 6 other regions picked a time that they could commit to daily. In our headquarters in Los Alamitos, we chose 9:41 AM. It was an odd time, so people remembered it. We have an automatic Slack reminder that posts at 9:39 and then we “ring the bell” at 9:40. Most of the team is already making their way to the conference room and are seated by 9:41.
At first, it was a little hard to get everyone on board and I think some of the team thought we were crazy. I was especially concerned about our developers. They tend to be very smart, to the matter of fact, black and white and not very touchy feely. I could just imagine them saying, “Why the heck are we wasting time on this? I’ve got code to write!” However, I was so wrong. Not only did they get on board, they loved it. In fact, they seemed to take to Lean quicker than anyone else.
Our first Lean 19 meeting was July 18, 2016. We’ve had a meeting almost every work day since then and they just keep getting better.
If you are interested in our daily Lean 19 agendas, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to share my presentations with you.