Starting on a New Journey…

Have you ever heard of Lean Management? If you’ve come in contact with production and business administration, you probably have. Lean Management is a way to organize your production – and your entire business. It was developed quite a while ago by companies like Toyota and was made popular by the authors James P. Womack und Daniel T. Jones. Summed up very briefly, the idea is to always put the customer first, concentrating on all the activities that bring value to the customer and eliminating all those that don’t. Today, Lean Management is a standard practice in many industrial companies.

While many companies embrace various principles of the concept, I feel that in many cases, the core is often not fully understood. People complain how Lean Management has become a little outdated, considering it was developed more than half a century ago. But I believe that rather than replacing it by newer methodologies with very similar principles (e. g. Agile), we should try and take the ideas of Lean Management one step further. This is what I want to do here, at Next Level Lean.

Taking Lean Management from Local to Global

Currently there is a huge trend towards thinking more globally. Finally, people all over the world are starting to understand that protecting the environment is not just something weird “hippies” do. Instead, the general public slowly develops something like an environmental conscience. Another major change we are currently going through is in society. Conservative, right-wing oriented political movements and governments are gaining ground all over the world. However, there is also the counter-movement of more and more people promoting cooperative work and taking action to solve real-world problems in the private, political and commercial realm.

I firmly believe that the core principles of Lean Management can be applied to change the view from local – optimizing a company – to global – making sure a company (or lifestyle) generates maximum value for society and the environment as a whole. The key here is to take our thinking away from financial elements (“What is the customer willing to pay for?”) and towards social and environmental aspects (“What helps society / the environment most?”).

What’s Next?

So follow me on this exciting journey of applying a methodology firmly based in a production environment to a more general, more global context. I will let you in on my thought process a little more deeply in the following posts, distinguishing between a “Lean Lifestyle”, i. e. applying the concept to the private realm, and “Lean Business”, i. e. making business decisions a little more global with the ideas described above. I will also launch a weekly series soon, in which I will be introducing various books that match this concept very well and inspired me on the way.

Most importantly, I invite you to join me on this new path. I would like to apply my ideas to my own life and will write about that, too. An important principle of Lean Management is Kaizen, or continuous improvement in small, incremental steps. Please follow me on my own path of continuous improvement, including all the smaller and larger setbacks which will inevitably be happening to me in the process.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about these ideas. Have you tried transferring business methodologies to your own private life before? Have you tried shifting your focus towards a more socially and environmentally friendly position? Have you even tried to shift your own business towards that direction? Let me know in the comment section!

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