Tools are just tools [the broken link has been removed] by Lee Fried
Great post. Great goal; and quite a challenge. My personal belief is while you are trying to make this change (which takes years) to become an organization that acts as a system you must balance education (an investment – one of the best forms of investment often) and improvements gains today (both are needed). And just applying tools effectively can often provide nice gains today (with the right guidance and proper restraint).
Often the two go hand in hand – there is little more educational than actually participating in using quality/lean/improvement tools and concepts to solve your own problems. That is the best way for managers to learn about lean thinking. But I think when you see this dual role of current improvement efforts it changes your measure of success – not just measuring improvement for today (or improvements in the value stream that will pay dividends for years) but also valuing the new knowledge gained by the participants. I have never been able to quantify the benefit of the education but that doesn’t bother me.