Ego, Lean and the Workplace: Keep Your Ego in Check

by [user not found] | Aug 18, 2015

Late last week, the Providence Business News released an article titled, "Keep Your Ego In Check" by VIBCO president Karl Wadensten.

The theme of the piece is ego and the workplace. The speed of business is becoming faster and faster with no sign of slowing down any time soon. Businesses are expected to be nimble and be ready to pivot should a major change disrupt the status quo.

 VIBCO's approach to weathering the ever-shifting business landscape was our embracing of Lean manufacturing and Lean principles. Lean's facts-first, critical thinking and problem solving approach to manufacturing, waste cutting and management decision making has been VIBCO's key business compass since the early 2000s.

While it's one thing to adopt Lean as a company's main, we found Lean can only truly thrive if there is a non-judgmental, idea driven workplace. In other words, leaving your ego aside at the workplace.

You can read the whole piece here on the Providence Business Journal's site or read the whole piece below.

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Keep Your Ego In Check by Karl Wadensten

Check your ego at the door. That's easier said than done. You have to accept that you, as a leader, do not have all the answers. You can't.

The speed of business, and the volume and complexity of information we receive every day guarantee that we can't, by ourselves, ever grasp the full scope of a problem. Our key leadership challenge is to develop an organization that can help us to identify and solve those problems – one with critical-thinking skills, that collaborates in nonjudgmental, fact-based ways, and that has good problem-solving structures in place.

At VIBCO Vibrators, I answered that key leadership challenge when I made a strategic and heartfelt decision to embrace the principles of lean manufacturing. One Lean tool we use every single day is to ask, "Why?" That gives you a starting point for real discovery and digging into a problem.

Remember that "check your ego" thing? This is where it matters most.

Listening to others, recognizing that they have true value and likely have a deeper understanding of all the issues than you do, and then going to the place where the work is actually done to see for yourself – those are pathways to getting sustainable, impactful improvements.

Can you imagine if Rhode Island started behaving this way? We could make profound change happen so rapidly if all of our leaders would simply check their egos and commit to fostering a true spirit of collaboration. And in the process, create a higher standard of living, working and quality of life for all.