Can you help the unwilling? My co-worker and I are completely paralyzed by a group of staff members in an implementation that refuse to adopt the principles of Lean because it takes away the “joy” of working and the group cohesion. According to them, now that Lean has been implemented, they don’t have time to talk anymore…they’re always working.

The thing here is Lean has not taken away the group cohesion, it has just made them do something they have not done before – WORK!!! I may be from a different school of thought, but when I come to work I work. I am not there to socialize and catch up on the latest lunch room gossip. Being that I work in health care, there is no dictating when the work comes in either. So, as a health careworker, you have to assume that your day is going to be filled with work, and when and how hard you work is completely determined by the patient. Patient’s don’t chose when they get ill, and that is why health care is a continuous operation. That’s the purpose of implementing Lean. The patient doesn’t care that you don’t have time to talk to your co-worker about their vacation, the patient wants to know what is wrong with them so they can be treated and go home. In mind, it is completely insensitive of this group of employees who feel that their sense of joy from the workplace has been eliminated from their job. You are not paid to chat, you are paid to work. What keeps the doors of our hospitals open is being able to have a patient turnover rate that is more than acceptable to the patient.

Never more has this concept been evident than when we recently closed the doors on one of our hospitals after being in business for over 50 years. We couldn’t meet the demands of the patient, and unfortunately for us time beat Lean to the punch. With this in mind, the staff at the other hospital, the ones refusing to adopt Lean, should be extremely mindful of this and should be working diligently to make sure the same doesn’t happen at their place of employment. After all, the joy of coming to work is knowing that you have a job to come to.

The struggle for me is being able to successfully implement the Lean principles into this type of environment. The staff have dug their heels in 100%, and aren’t budging. Now, most Lean experts would say this is the point where you must rely on management to enforce the changes. However, the staff have a hold on management as well, and management can get no where with them. So now what; do we clean house? Will that solve anything? In the end, we’re stuck, deflated, and out of ideas.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences on this scenario.

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