The Continuous Improvement Professional And Racism: What Would You Do?

Bella Englebach is a consultant with Lean for Humans, Inc, and in this article, she asks about the moral and ethical implications of the work we do as we confront systemic racism?

Examples include:

  • What do you say if there is diversity in those allowed to attend training classes?
  • What if the client wants you to improve the process to layoff workers or do the work with less paid workers?
  • What if the coaching program was primarily white managers coaching workers of color?
  • What if the goal of your project was to reduce labor hours so the job could be made part-time to reduce cost of benefits?

If we are white, we must go to the gemba of Black people’s lived experience. We must educate ourselves and watch and deeply listen until we start to understand what is happening

In conclusion, she challenges lean thinkers with the following:

  • Let’s improve the flow of justice to the people.
  • Let’s build a bottom line of equity.
  • Let’s improve the quality of people’s lives: employees and contractors and customers.
  • Let’s give lean thinking a higher purpose than profit.

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