Trust is a big thing in lean manufacturing. Only companies where trust is allowed to grow and management can be trusted by staff will lean take root. Employees have to trust management. Trust that they won't use Lean as a quick cost cutting opportunity and slash jobs as soon as productivity rises. Trust that their input will be valued and implemented. Trust that Lean is not another flavor of the month.
I've been thinking about trust having read my colleague Robert Lynches article Leadership and the Structure of Trust in the European Business Review. How much do we trust each other in our lean endeavors and how much are we trusted in life. This question jumped out at me last night. I was doing the family shopping at Westbrook Mall. I parked the car by Safeway and went to grab a shopping cart. The cart I grabbed was a Walmart one. It did not have a chain and lock unlike the Safeway carts that you have to deposit a quarter or a loonie in before you could use it.
This surprised me, or more precisely challenged my perceptions. I thought Walmart would need to secure their carts more than Safeway. I don't know if this is true but it appears that Walmart trusts its customers just a little more than Safeway. Or it could be that Walmart customers are more trustworthy than Safeway customers.
Turning the question back to Lean, how much as Lean champions are we trusted? And what do we do to develop that trust, do we take the locks off or do we keep them in place because that is what we think everyone else does and maybe we are a little scared to trust?