HCBE Faculty Articles

Journey to the North Face: A Guide to Business Transformation


Regina A. Greenwood0000-0002-5577-499X

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Academy of Strategic Management Journal



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Organizations increasingly chose to adopt lean enterprise strategies but implementing strategy is a difficult task, prone to failure. Transforming our businesses into a new model, one that removes non-value added activities, requires a three-phase transformation: a cultural transformation, implementing lean tools, and extending lean principles into the value stream outside the business. This paper focuses on the first two aspects of the transformation. In moving an enterprise to lean, leading the change must come from the top but other leaders must also be present. Change leaders at the business unit level, called Transformanagers, and plant level implementers, called "Lean Berets," provide the skills, knowledge, and involvement to implement lean systems throughout the organization. Supporting mechanisms, such as unwavering sponsorship from the top, a clearly articulated vision, and alignment of all employees are other necessary components for successful lean transformations. Organizational structures that support teams, and organizational linkages that cut across functional boundaries must be implemented. Finally, the importance of extensive training and dedicated resources is stressed and a recommended training program is presented. Such a commitment of resources to the training effort recognizes that people are as important as equipment, tools, and processes in implementing a lean transformation strategy.



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