“Resistance is futile.” That is the warning statement from the Borg Collective, an arch enemy of the Federation of Planets in the Star Trek television series. Any trekkies out there? The first time I heard that phrase I thought; boy are they over-confident, they have not dealt with Captain Jean Luc Picard yet. And of course after moments of near destruction the Enterprise destroys the enemy and the crew sighs with relief that they have not been assimilated.

During my early learning about the Lean transformation paradigm the concept of staff resistance to the process was paramount. Being a creative soul this statement came to mind. I thought of Captain Picard and his eventual triumph over the Borg. Resistance is futile became a mantra of sorts as I worked the new process into the daily routine of the operation I manage.

Now… two years later the word lean is almost never mentioned except in the past tense as the Management Initiative that started a few years ago. But, my observations are clear. Many staff are sustaining 5S work spaces, we are in a pull focus completing the tasks way ahead of schedule and ready for new work from our referral base. The plan is working because people are working the plan. Certainly some personal work style transformation has occurred. That is a good sign of the long term benefits of this organizational development tool. It takes time for staff to use the knowledge and work it into their daily work habits, but I remain convinced that there has been some behavior change which is good for the individual employee and the organization.

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