The anxious CEO said, “let’s push the product down.

Then my eyes, they met his. I gave a mournful frown.

“What’s the problem?” he asked me with a mighty gush.

I replied quite simply, “we should pull, not push.”

Ideally, it’ll be defective free. We’ll do it one by one.

And on demand as requested. Safe for everyone.

We’ll cut out all non-value time; that is to say the waste.

And when a change is needed, we’ll make it. We’ll make haste.

For our team to excel, to be the very best

We’ll implement a system, one we call 5S.

We’ll rid ourselves of unneeded items. Organize and label.

Standardize our cleaning methods, sustain it, yes, we’re able.

To make decisions based on facts, which we all deserve.

We’ll take it to the Gemba and attentively observe.

We have talented teams, not one of them obtuse.

But for the sake of consistency, we’ll put the Rules-In-Use.

Define the content, sequence and timing, we can have some fun.

Add location and the outcome and call it Rule number one.

Then Rule 2 for me and you helps move us toward perfection.

It’s direct. It’s paced. It’s yes or no. It’s all about connections.

Our work, we’ll make it simple. Nothing done half way.

No forks or looping anywhere. A well-defined pathway.

Those closest to the problem and the work processes.

Will use proven methods, not leave it to the bosses.

The CEO smiles and said, “Your name I did not glean.”

I held my hand out, and then I said, “my friends call me I-LEAN.”

This Lean poem was written by John Britt. John, a Partner with Mountjoy and Bressler, LLP, has over 20 years of experience in process driven change and change management. He has worked as a business advisor where he led teams at several large companies in the change management process to improve the business outcomes. In his business career, John has consulted with over 300 companies to assist with strategic methods to increase profitability. John’s first book Who Killed Change?, co-authored with Ken Blanchard, was published in May 2009. He has also published articles in leading industry journals, and is an experienced keynoter who shares inspiring methods for leading and managing change based on his own practical experiences. John holds a master’s degree in Organizational Management and a bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources.

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