Red is the new green

Only last week did a customer for the first time talk about my logo, and he had it figured out. He recognised what it meant.

In proper lean cultures, where KPI’s are set properly, you have a safe environment for teams to discuss the performance. The word safe here is critical, as you would always discuss a KPI to describe the performance of a process. If you’re off, you should look at your process, at your standard work. A true daily management review only works in a non-blaming environment.

Daily Problem Solving

At one of my previous companies we always joked ‘red is the new green‘. What does that mean? It means that our lean culture had matured to the extent we actually wanted to be red, we wanted to miss our KPI. Because when you miss a KPI, you actually know what to do. Problem Solving on a daily basis drives the most improvement in the long run. And that is what we were looking for. We wanted to improve, we wanted to stretch ourselves

Specifically for key initiatives, like coming from our Hoshin Kanri, our Lean mentor always said that we should be red throughout the year, as long as we were green in december. For these really crucial and strategic objectives, we didn’t know at the start of the year how to get to the target. And that’s ok. That’s how it should be. If it was easy, you wouldn’t need a strategy deployment process, you would just run your standard work.

Photo by Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

Throughout the year, though problem solving, ideation, experimentation and monthly reviews with senior leadership, we would build muscle. We would improve, learn new things, build new processes. And towards the end of the year, looking back, you’d realise the immens progress you made. Is it a guarantee to be green in December? No, but when done diligently, significant progress will be made, and that’s what it was all about.

And that’s what my logo stands for, focus on improvement and muscle building, fixing processes and eliminating waste, you’ll be green in the long run. It’s that simple. Not easy, but simple.


If you need help deploying your strategy