Six Pillars of Lean Business Agility

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Lean Portfolio Management: Definition & Principles

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Lean Business Agility
  • 1:20 First and Second Pillar
  • 2:25 Third and Fourth Pillar
  • 3:23 Fifth and Sixth Pillar
  • 4:45 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Lean business agility is a framework that helps organizations operate in a manner that maximizes their efficiency and effectiveness. This lesson provides a high-level overview of the things that characterize an agile organization.

Lean Business Agility

Imagine what it would be like to run a Fortune 500 company by making it up as you went along. Suffice it to say, there isn't a single company on that list that uses this method. Literally every single one uses some form of a structured operations strategy as a basis for making strategic business decisions.

'Lean' and 'agile' are two related strategies. When they were first developed, these tools were targeted toward the manufacturing process, product development, and project management. As more organizations found the principles effective, they've been adapted and applied by organizations in a wide variety of industries.

Although related, the strategies of lean and agile intersect rather than run parallel to each other. Lean business agility was initially applied to manufacturing, and it emphasizes the importance of the conditions required to do a job efficiently and effectively. Agile, on the other hand, was developed as a more effective way to manage projects, roll-outs, and product development. In this capacity, agile emphasizes implementation (i.e., 'how') strategies. Both strategies share common foundational principles, or pillars, that hold up the strategic framework. Let's look at those six common pillars now.

First and Second Pillar

Lean business agility's first pillar is that the customer plays a vital role in the business. In this customer-oriented pillar, the customer pulls the product from the organization. Agile refers to this as customer collaboration and a lean orientation puts this in the pillar of respect for people. Lean agility means that, rather than shutting something out onto the customer, the organization lets the customer decide what they want and when they want it. Letting customers pull is one way of satisfying the pillar of being customer-centric.

The second pillar, lean product development, outlines how an organization will manage their project portfolio. This pillar calls for organizations to be smart about the projects they take on, and how they will govern those projects effectively during development. Projects should be based on opportunities, but not just any opportunity, only where they will do the most good. Additionally, lean product development means choosing strategies that will create just enough to satisfy the customers, but not so much that there is leftover, which becomes waste.

Third and Fourth Pillar

The leadership transformation pillar focuses on the development of leaders, their leadership style, and their relationship with their teams. Agile leadership is servant leadership. This approach views managers as resource persons that serve to empower effective teams of subject-matter experts. Agile leaders are responsible for adapting to changes quickly and effectively. To be this adaptable, the agile leader engages in self-development designed to build their competency both in strategic leadership and in tactical leadership roles.

The fourth pillar is stable teams, consistent with the principles of servant leadership, agile teams do the work and the agile leader supports the team. Agile leaders place a lot of trust and autonomy in the teams they build. To keep teams motivated and stable, leaders ensure that the teams are adequately resourced. They also ensure that the transitions or hand-off of work between teams go smoothly and is well-communicated.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account