The Edges of Lean — Ep 72 Continuously Improving a Culture for Innovation with Norbert Majerus


Do you think there are differences between a lean culture and a culture for lean innovation? Norbert Majerus loved being an engineer in part because he was better with numbers than with people. But when Norbert was entrusted with leading the lean innovation transformation at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, he had to build his skills with people. He’s written a new book that shines a light on the human side of a lean innovation culture and what leaders need to learn about themselves to drive positive culture change. He joined me to tell his story. About Norbert Majerus Norbert, born and raised in Luxembourg, has a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the Universitaet des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, Germany, and worked most of the disciplines in the Goodyear innovation centers in Luxembourg and Akron. Norbert has taught workshops and has spoken at many conferences in the United States and other countries. Since retiring from Goodyear in 2017, he continues to share his extensive lean expertise via Norbert Majerus Consulting and as a board member of LPPDE (Lean Product and Process Development Exchange). In 2016, Norbert published his first book, Lean-Driven Innovation, which received the Shingo Research Award. Also in 2016, with Norbert’s guidance, the Goodyear R&D organization applied for and received the AME Excellence Award. Norbert published his second book, Winning Innovation in 2022. KEY TOPICS IN THIS PODCAST: 0:02:48 Leadership Lessons Learned the Hard Way 0:04:54 The Importance of Lean Culture and People 0:08:12 Leadership Development in a Lean Culture 0:12:25 Innovation at Goodyear 0:16:42 The Benefits of Taking Risks in the Workplace 0:23:03 The Benefits of a Culture of Innovation 0:25:03 The Impact of Education on Psychological Health 0:29:53 The Importance of Culture in Innovation Excellence 0:34:43 Innovation Excellence: The Process of Achieving Success KEY TAKEAWAYS Culture starts with the people Working in a Lean environment reinforced the importance of culture and people. Instead of lean tool adoption, the success of a lean system depends mostly on the activities made, the concepts applied, and organizational change. Every organization develops a culture, whether through a planned or unplanned process. Leaders need to respect people to be successful and it is something most leaders struggle with. When a corporation chooses to implement the lean business model, it cannot assume that the culture would instantly adapt to the new procedures, resources, and ideas. The culture needs to be intentionally guided to meet the demands of the model. A key to lean product development is performing a risk assessment and discharging that risk as early as you can in the process – so that you’re not loading risk to the end of a product development project. Memorable Quotes From Norbert Majerus “The ideal processes inspire the ideal behaviors” CONNECT WITH Norbert Majerus Linkedin: Website: Norberts Latest Book: