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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Why job promises are essential

to Continuous Improvement

Would you devote your soul to work yourself out of a job?

If you "worked your friend out of a job" would you be eager to start another round of "improvements" wondering if it would be your job that got eliminated next?

Job Assurance Guarantee

Download your free
Job Security Promise template,
personalize it,
and post it where people see it

Once the appropriate size work force has been determined

(after the most gross inefficiencies have been eliminated)

the top priority of your Executive Change Agent must be to convince management to promise that no one will ever lose their job due to continuous improvement efforts.


Should we promise that no one will ever lose their job?


If someone has a bad attitude, or can't work in a team environment, or isn't comfortable with so much constant change — management should help them find work more suited to them.

If market demand goes down — then jobs might follow.

But no one should lose their job directly because of process improvements.


What to do with free time & spare cash

created by systems improvement

As you use your Strategic Planning templates and processes, one VERY important strategic consideration is to answer the question:

"What will we do with the time and money that we expect to free up through our continuous improvement efforts?"


  1. Reduce overtime
  2. Do that preventive maintenance (on schedule for a change)
  3. Put extra people on systems improvement projects
  4. Make some things that you currently buy from marginal suppliers
  5. Offer flex-time, or reduce the work week across the board
  6. Develop new product lines to grow the business
  7. Buy up competitors (perhaps self-funded by using lean techniques to convert their excess inventories into cash)


Financial effects of reducing inventories

If your strategies include plans to substantially reduce inventories, you should prepare your investors to expect the following financial effects:

  • Your inventory "assets" will be largely converted into cash
  • This will cause a paper "profit loss" even while freeing up fantastic quantities of available cash

It is generally a good idea to educate your investors that this is a "good thing" BEFORE surprising them with a financial statement showing a paper loss.

The most important thing you should NOT do

with free time & spare cash created by systems improvement

Don't eliminate jobs

Once you have determined a sustainable workforce (after eliminating most gross inefficiencies), it is VERY important to give your workers as much job security as possible.

Isn't job security important to unions, too?

Yes. You will find it challenging enough to educate your work force and their union that all of this continuous improvement stuff isn't really just another management attempt to squeeze more and pay less.

If you're coming to the union negotiating table without job guarantees, you'd better have a pretty convincing story about some threat to the very existence of the company.

And if you don't have a union? Job security assurance might be a good way to keep it that way.

Use your Job Design Matrix template

Whenever there is the possibility that a current job might soon get "improved out of existence"...

Use your Job Design Matrix template (JobDesign.xlsx) to identify possible career paths for each potentially affected person.

Job Design Matrix template

Learn more about how your Growth Plan and Job Security Promise are essential milestones for any Lean Journey

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