Government of Manitoba 
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The leadership principles necessary to start a lean journey from scratch

What if the problem is you?


Practitioner Presentation
Tuesday, Nov. 5 Location Code
11:00am-12:00pm Regency Ballroom B, West Tower, Ballroom Level TS/08



Hear how the Government of Manitoba, Canada, believes that a common framework of leadership behaviors is truly foundational before lean tools can begin to work to support an innovation journey. Learn how the challenge is put to senior leaders embarking on a new lean start: What if the problem is not your people? What if the problem is you? Perhaps you need to change your leadership approaches, and even your own leadership mindset!


For organizations beginning the lean journey, the behaviors of the leadership may need to transform dramatically if the lean toolkit is going to be useful. Without a proper foundation of supportive leadership behaviors, the lean journey will falter and stall. Discover the framework of leadership principles that first needs to be modeled. This forms a conceptual model called the “Three Spaces of Lean Transformation.” which suggests that trust, change and continuous improvement need to be consciously shaped, developed, and maintained by leadership. Hear how this model was implemented within Manitoba Housing in 2014 and the employee engagement survey scores in key areas increased from 2-8 percent over the government average in 2013 to 10-22 percent over in 2015. Gain insights into a department leadership training program entitled "Leadership Principles for Effective Innovation," helping leaders understand the behaviors to support a culture change of continuous improvement.


The Manitoba Government Department of Families is responsible for a wide range of social services and programs, including child and family services, employment income assistance, adult and children’s disability programs, low-income rent assist, and the Social Housing Rental Program. Some of these programs and services are delivered directly by the department, while others are provided by community-based partner organizations and agencies. One of the larger departments of the government, the department of families has an annual budget of over $2 billion, and almost 2,000 staff across the province.

Presenter: Brent Timmerman

Brent Timmerman is the chief innovation officer for the Manitoba Government Department of Families, championing the deployment of a lean transformation strategy that focuses on leadership and employee engagement to create a culture of improvement and operational excellence. He is author of “Starting Lean from Scratch: A Senior Leader’s Guide to Beginning and Steering an Organizational Culture Change for Continuous Improvement,” which will be published in 2019 (Productivity Press). Timmerman has an MSc degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba. He is a registered professional engineer and a certified project management professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute, and a Lean Black Belt champion with Lean Sensei International.