Create a culture of purpose-driven excellence

Building a purpose-driven excellence culture requires leadership to be proactive and engage with their workers and create a culture built on trust.

By Greg Williams, AME October 17, 2016

If your organization’s improvement initiatives are inconsistent, it’s time to turn things around, but how? Perhaps it’s time to revisit the company’s purpose, leadership’s day-to-day activities, and the strategies for building change momentum. There are a few ways to do this:

Create a foundation

Consider the organization’s purpose. Regardless of the company, all the key decisions flow from this foundation. If the company’s initiative is to become the best Lean company out there, understand that Lean is not just a toolbox. It’s a way of thinking and acting that needs to be nurtured within an organization.

Leadership commitment and learning

"Where do we start?" is a common question among senior leaders who are striving to find a better sense of shared purpose. One of the things leaders can do is get away from their desks and talk with people. Leaders need to ask what is currently frustrating workers and what they need to achiever their goals. Leaders might be shocked when they learn about conflicting demands on employees’ time or other issues.

If leaders ask, "What can I change to make your life better?" they need to follow up and do something about it. Communicating with workers helps leaders gain their ideas and build trust and open the way to accept Lean improvements.

Sustain and build improvement momentum

Most people want to contribute. Here a few suggestions for building a purpose-driven environment where people are engaged:

  • Create a learning network for sharing ideas and best practices.
  • Foster leadership at all levels and strengthen employees’ problem-solving capabilities.
  • People will give their hearts if leaders ask. Find ways to show workers that you care about them and their ideas.

– Greg Williams is an AME author. This article originally appeared on Association for Manufacturing Excellence. AME is a CFE Media content partner.

Original content can be found at