Building Cultural Acceptance

Building Cultural Acceptance in Organization

It is very challenging for a successful transformation in a continuous process improvement culture as it requires an enterprise method that engages the whole organization and question its norms. It also demands understanding of new methodologies, tools, and internal control beyond that in which most organizations and companies operate.

Nearly all organizations are committed to immediate results and quick fixes. If they don’t get immediate results most organizations may abandon the team, program or partner in search of the next big thing, and this desire of immediate results is the base cause of demise and limited success. So, the main reason behind Lean transformation working in some organizations but not in others is due to the fact that difference between failure and success is in the cultural acceptance and the potential of a company or an organization to accept change, not simply Lean change, but change in general.

Beginning Small

While lean may give an impression of being a complete shift, the success of a Lean transformation depends on continuous improvement on the flywheel of change by creating a cultural movement. According to Jim Collins “Great organizations don’t become what they are overnight, they become that way because continuous small improvements create a breakthrough that sustains growth.”

So, to begin an organization have to start small and regularly needs to employ organizational change and development tools to overpower the barriers and resistance to change.

Learn from already Successful Companies

Sustainable outcomes can be attained when the culture of a company or an organization comply with the technical changes being implemented and improved.

Toyota teaches us a cultural change model that believe in an organization’s willingness and desire to accept change. Toyota approximately calculated 2 to 4 percent of every organization is made up of adaptive and innovative people who are willing to accept change. Another 2 to 4 percent are the ones who actively resist and try to hold back the change. The remaining organization is made up of those who are waiting to see who will win.

Most commonly the managers spend their efforts on the ones who actively resist and try to hold back the change but, Toyota proposed that managers should be spending time and efforts with adaptive and innovative people who are willing to accept change and are early adapters. The company or the organization’s focus should be on the positive reinforcement, which promotes a forward shift. We have also seen many positive results in our consulting company by building cultural acceptance.

The same dynamic is being operated in successful organizations. In successful, adaptive and innovative organizations there is very small push-back from leadership or managers when it comes to executing improvements generated by Lean activities and these organizations are the ones whose successful outcomes are documented in Lean books.


The success of big organizations in the past gives us a lesson that in successful transformations, leaders takes the lead. The foundation of a steady process improvement culture cannot be directly put in an organization. Leadership must accept the methods and tools and lead the change. They should take full responsibility for creating and communicating the organization’s vision for the future, and identifying the major hurdles that needs to overcome.

So, building cultural acceptance in organizations is a key to Lean Transformation.

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