Why culture matters

I visited Crete recently and one of the first things that shocked me was the traffic. The way locals drove their cars was… creative. One picture follows to put everybody on the same page:

IMG_1547

What you see is a single lane road, with 2 cars overtaking a third one, which drives on the emergency shoulder. We could talk for hours about standardization, visuals and similar things, but what surprised me the most was something different. Those were rental cars, most probably driven by tourists, who (very likely) don’t drive like this in their home countries. Just a few days on the island made them behave very differently.

All of us who have failed many times doing lean (6sigma, OpEx, continuous improvement…. you name it) projects know how easy it is to forget the importance of culture. Help your people understand this and you’ve done 50% of any improvement initiative.

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