Much of my career has been devoted to the role of HR in creating successful lean transformations. As I sat down to write the second edition of my book, I pondered what I had learned about this in the last 5-10 years.
My first approach was to wallpaper the hallways of my house with flip charts of what I had learned since the first book — to see if I could break the information into topics that made sense. Rightly or wrongly, I made up my mind to approach the topic from a fresh perspective rather than just add on to the first edition of my book – which made it a considerable undertaking.
So, what had changed in the last 5-10 years? First and foremost, I had now worked with a number of companies in this field of study. Many of these experiences had shown me new ways companies could strengthen their approach to involving HR with continuous improvement strategies.
In addition, over these years I’ve become more deeply interested in advancing how companies optimize people’s talents. The work has never ceased to be amazing in two ways, with the first being the sheer delight of witnessing a leader as they experience how it feels to support an individual’s growth. Just as importantly, it’s the joy of seeing how people benefit from increasing their contributions in terms of ideas, teamwork and business acumen. In the day-to-day practice of these principles, I have found it more important than ever to keep in mind the reason why this work matters.
Along the way, I’ve become increasingly concerned about referring to the work as Lean HR. In fact, it applies far outside the lean community. Whether people subscribe to simply driving an engaged workforce or some other methodology (i.e., Agile, Six Sigma or OpEx), the fundamental idea is to involve everyone in working to their fullest.
The second edition of Lean HR took significantly longer to write than the first edition and covered over 10 years of work experience. The only thing that finally led me to complete the book was accepting that it would be outdated no matter when I stopped writing it. As we all do, I learn something new every day and continue to evolve in my understanding of what it takes to create a truly participative work environment. I’ve also become more engaged than ever in supporting the advancement of HR professionals to become stronger strategic partners in their organization and to contribute in significantly greater ways.
I can only try to describe the feeling that comes after finishing several hundred hours of work and overcoming many challenges along the way. One thing that I’m really excited about is that the second edition includes a number of free support materials that can be downloaded on a specific website. Individuals who purchase the book have access to a wide range of resources covering every topic in the book.
For any of you that might want to get a copy of the second edition, here is the link.
Like many of us, one thing I struggle to do is celebrate the milestones and successes. It’s easier to just say, “so now what?” and move on to the next project. I’ve challenged myself to do what I preach to the many teams I work with – to take a moment to actually celebrate this milestone.
If you end up looking at the book and have thoughts you’d like to share, please do so below.