2014 - Present
When I first encountered LeanKit, a Franklin, TN, based software company, I had no knowledge of the principles of lean business management philosophy. With global clients such as Rolls Royce, Spotify and Verizon, they seemed to already be in a very good place. After a steep learning curve, a lot of hard listening and a great business novel* (who knew that was possible?), I began to understand the essence of the LeanKit offering – a ‘kit’ to help businesses implement lean transformations across their enterprise and beyond. It was also understood that their role was not to teach lean principles to businesses, but rather to help business understand how to apply these principles and practices to knowledge-based work and teams.
LeanKit at the time were successfully selling at the departmental level, enabling project managers to implement techniques of Kanban and other workflow collaboration processes. But they realized that the opportunity was to go beyond product focus and encourage more ‘buy-in’ to a bigger idea, to speak to a broader audience and be able to sell up the ladder (and include C level buyers, directors and Lean Transformation Teams). In other words, not just a sales strategy, but a brand strategy.
The challenge therefore was to deliver a narrative that connects to multiple targets, at multiple levels – a highest common denominator message that transcends company hierarchies, industries and disciplines.
This was one of those gigs that you can’t get out of your mind, a real brain twister. I remember waking in the middle of the night one time with this formula in my head: complex process + common sense = complex sense + process in common. It was well received internally.
The benefits of using LeanKit became clear pretty quickly. They offer companies the clarity that comes with internal visibility, the harmony that comes with synchronizing team behaviour, and the motivation that comes with accountability and transparency. But the bigger brand idea is about the business strength that comes as a result of the above. By universalizing team culture and promoting true business partnership and participation, LeanKit helps create a sense of business as community, thus allowing everyone, at all levels of the company, to participate in ‘leadership’. The visual analogy of a rowing team proved a valuable one, with everyone pulling together.
LeanKit builds business strength from within – it enables ‘business fitness’ for all kinds of companies all over the world. They are not just experts in workflow, but in business flow.
I have stayed involved in a brand guardian capacity, overseeing the creative implementation of the new brand, and it has been one of the most thorough branding projects I have ever done, even including in-depth analysis of color philosophy during the visual identity work.
[* Elliyahu Goldratt – The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement]