Lean is not an acronym. It’s the name for a method used to streamline.
Nonprofit organizations have unique challenges. We all know the first one: the reliance on donations and outside funding. This funding can fluctuate depending on the mood of the economy. In the recession of 2008, funds shrunk, some dried up, and many nonprofit organizations were forced to cut mission-critical programs. It still happens today. Lean provides an alternative.
The second challenge is hardly recognized: although staff and volunteers are valued for their passion, there is a long-held belief that this is sufficient to run an organization. But not in today’s climate. Passion is great, but complemented with “management acumen”…that’s even greater. Management acumen isn’t just for managers…it’s for everyone. It really means ‘know-how’…know-how about solving a problem, know-how about seeing the big picture, know-how about what tool to use. Lean builds management acumen by using improvement teams made up of ordinary workers who know the problems first-hand, and now they have a forum and know-how to solve them.