Organizational Effectiveness

Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 50
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

Keys to Lean Success

  • It takes true commitment and a change in culture - be the change you wish to see.
  • Those who do the work should be those who develop the new process.
  • Involve all affected stakeholders.
  • Make changes now.
  • Practice accountability.
  • Leadership determines the success or failure of any Lean initiative!

A three-step process to Lean success

Departments are encouraged to contact their local HR leader(s) and Organizational Effectiveness (OE) when they have needs that may involve business process improvement. We can provide resources and can refer consultants based upon the need or request.

Step 1 - Plan

  • Prepare by defining the problem to solve and the “case for change.” This includes the reasons needed for change, objectives, ways to measure success, boundaries, scope, benchmarking, and stakeholders. (For tools, please contact
  • Meet with Leadership, including your Senior HR leader. OE can assist in facilitating the conversation and referral to resources. 
  • Finalize the Case for Change, including resources and supports needed.
  • Logistics and timing should be decided for implementation during this stage.

Step 2 - Execute the Plan

  • Document the current state by "walking the process." (For tools, please contact
  • Include all processes and flows of information, identify which activities add value to the consumer and those that represent waste, capture issues with the current state, and brainstorm possible solutions to those issues. (Refer to Waste Identification for more information.)
  • Describe an ideal state with no constraints.
    • There should be no approvals necessary, no requirements, no waiting, and every step should add value to the consumer.
  • Develop a future state and walk through the process.
  • Issues that are resolved should be validated - conduct a gap analysis to determine how to make continued strides for improvement, and define metrics for success, such as measurable milestones.
  • Create an implementation plan.
    • Develop a schedule that includes an analysis comparing effort input and impact output, a critical path, dependencies, and become aware of over-utilized resources.
    • Assign deadlines and ownership for actions in the plan and schedule a report for management to review.

Step 3 - Implement the New Process

  • This is where the real work takes place.
    • Form action item teams and begin meeting together.
    • During this process, there will be regularly scheduled, follow-up reviews to make sure the process is working and being implemented correctly.
  • Sustain the gains.
  • Know the metric goals such as the time, number of resources, number of complaints, etc.
  • Continuously improve by evaluating the results and comparing them to your goals, celebrate the company accomplishments, and revisit the future state map to monitor your progress.
  • The future state should be the current state if the changes were correctly implemented.
  • Continue to increase the goals as part of an effort to continue improvement.