Closing Keynote: Respect for People – Lean’s Neglected Pillar (Jon Terry)


Respect for People is one of the pillars of Lean. If you read the Lean-Agile literature or attend conferences, you will hear plenty about culture. However, these ideas usually aren’t presented as systematically and tangibly as the process tools. Most of the Lean principles that we study are focused on the other pillar, Continuous Improvement. Cultural ideas may be mixed in there but in a way that’s hard to untangle. Or, at the risk of ruffling some feathers, they may seem overly touchy-feely or theoretical brain science-y.

That’s a real shame. A business can’t just be a nice place to work, full of nice people; it must deliver a steady stream of results for customers and financial stakeholders. But the best long-term results come from providing a sustainable, healthy work environment. So investing in a strong culture is a wise decision for executives and managers.

This talk will explore some key ideas around team structure and the responsibilities of both team members and managers in a respectful Lean-Agile company. It will present a candidate set of seven principles to spell out Respect for People to match those for Continuous Improvement. And it will share some of the source material from which these ideas are derived.