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Lean management and the new generations

Lean management is to be about fully empowered people, to be about continuous learning, teaching, development and process improvement - and these are just in line with the growing expectations of the recently approaching generation Z.

What are the expectations of the new generation, called Gen Z, the second wave of Millenials, who were born from around 1996 and recently are just graduated from the different universities?

  • They require, appreciate frequent feedback, daily (if possible), and positive (if possible).

  • They are motivated if the activity they perform is a challenging and interesting experience, they want to find the joy at work.

  • They can be attracted and retained at work if the feel the meaning of life, or at least the meaning of their work.

  • They are looking for work relations, which are based on partnership, respect and trust.

  • They like interactivity in communication and the can be addressed with brief, consise and visualised messages.

Nevertheless in most cases they do not find these all, therefore most of the employers face extremely high attrition rates as a quite new phenomenon. Banks or shared service centers work hard to cut the recent 30% (per annum) people turnover targeting to drop it to 8-10%, with no result at all.

What is the reason behind the recent high attrition rates? How the new generations (who are highly educated, extremely creative, innovative and tech-savvy) can be attracted and retained?

One of the answers can be given with the tools of a well-designed Lean Management. Why?

  • Because the focus of Lean is to empower people, maximizing their useful capacities, minimizing loss of time, energy and materials.

  • Because Lean is about brief, clear, short and concise communication, using One-Pagers instead of long and boring e-mails, presentations and word documents.

  • Because lean is about continuous improvement proposals (Kai Zen) which can revive and reshake the fantasy of the young generations!

In fact the new era, called Industry 4.0, requiring Leadership 4.0 will need very new approach from the managers and leaders soon.

When the new, innovative technical solutions are to be brought by the new generation, there is no more room to give direct instructions, because the technical and operative competence of the managers will never any more be in line with the competences of those who have to deliver the solutions.

This gap can be filled in with a very new leadership aproach – by managers who behave more like coaches, and less, like bosses.

„To lean or not to lean” – that is the question now!

This can be the winning slogan of the success in management, to attract, motivate and retain the new generation of employees.

Let ’s explore the endless opportunities in lean management by Managers who behave like Coaches!

Beata Schaffer (Bee)

(the picture is from:


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