The Pope, and a Bishop by the name of Giuseppe Piemontese, had the right idea, but like many wrestling with lean principles, missed the main point. Right church – wrong pew in churchspeak. The religious folks like so many others just can’t seem to grasp the fundamental difference between lean thinking and lean culture and old school management thinking.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to change – and therefore making any fundamental transformation in the business – is homogeneous management. Put another way, the less diversification, the less willingness to do anything different, largely because the less chance anyone will even suggest something different. I’m not talking about differences in race, gender or ethnicity. That sort of diversity is largely nonsense and useful only to the extent that it keeps the government and HR folks off your back. The diversity I am talking about is based on differences in education and work experiences.

Last week I offered up a lean assessment tool and have been somewhat overwhelmed with the number of requests for it. The underlying principle behind it is that cultural fit is the most important aspect of employees, with technical skills secondary.

A client asked me for help finding a good tool for assessing employee performance and development needs. Seems most of the stuff out there measured results instead of processes. I looked around and didn’t find anything too terribly exciting so I did a little plagiarizing and a bit of creative thinking and came up with something that fits the bill.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” So said Daniel Hudson Burnham who was the man behind the fantastic manner in which Chicago was developed and is today with its great lakefront and architectural diversity. He worked incredible wonders in a number of other places as well.