Lean BehavioursA strange title to an article?, then let me explain. When a bird of prey catches its food, it arches its shoulders and wraps its wings around its prospective meal as if to say, "Get off, this is mine". This behaviour is called mantling?

In some organisations some people do the same with information, knowledge and skills. They do so for many reasons including self-preservation (protection from future redundancy situations) and self-importance (they like to be the person to fix a problem where others have failed). However these skills are often the very ones in short supply so they usually represent a significant bottleneck or constraint to the business.

We suggest that a Lean Leader needs to recognise where 'mantling' is likely to occur and put plans in place to prevent it. The leader needs to build a culture where knowledge, information and skills are readily shared because it is seen as the right thing to do. This can be achieved in numerous ways including:-

  • Incentivising staff to share information - Appraisals can be used to set anti-mantling objectives which encourage the right behaviours to reduce constraints in the business.
  • Rewarding Success - Ensuring the right behaviour is rewarded in a way appropriate to your company culture. This might take the form of a simple pat on the back, highlighting successes at team briefings, employee awards schemes etc.
  • Setting appropriate KPIs - If the right KPIs are set, then it is possible to drive the right behaviour. For example, setting a joint KPI between a Production and a Maintenance department to measure the average time between machine failure (MTBF) ensures both departments work together to maximise the performance of the machines. Knowledge, information and skills will need to be shared to achieve these objectives.
  • One to One discussions – A leader needs to be aware of situations that might lead to mantling and ensure through one to one discussions that these issues are minimised.
  • Be persistent with staff who struggle with the concept of 'sharing'. Behaviours learnt over a number of years are unlikely to be modified quickly, so stick with it.

If you would like to know more about how leaders can bring about a lean culture you might want to attend our Lean Leadership training course.