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Anna Boyce, HR Director at The London Institute of Banking & Finance, reviews her experience of introducing Lean to the organisation.


Like any good story a journey starts with an idea. Our Lean journey started with the idea that there must be better ways to undertake some of the tasks that support our students.

Over the years we’d fallen into the all too familiar habit of bolting things on to existing processes when something didn’t quite work how we wanted it to. But that meant we’d ended up with a fair number of very time consuming and inefficient processes.

So how did we go about creating understanding and – dare I say it – excitement about the need for change amongst our staff? We started by holding a couple of information sessions for staff, supported by Mark Robinson from St Andrews.

From an organisation of around 200 staff, over 50% of staff attended the initial sessions in September 2015, facilitated by Mark Robinson who made the long journey south to help kick start our Lean journey. The impact was fantastic – the sessions created an undercurrent of excitement for innovation and improvement, so that when we asked for volunteers to become Lean Champions twenty staff immediately came forward.

In early 2016 we trained our Lean champions, giving them the skills and knowledge required to facilitate Rapid Improvement Events.   With our Lean Champions raring to get going we did some further short sessions for staff with the support of our Chief Executive, Alex Fraser. The sessions involved various games to transfer Lean knowledge and encouraged staff to identify processes that made them question ‘why do we do it like that?’ .

Our staff did not disappoint, giving us a significant number of potential processes to evaluate. A Lean Steering group consisting of senior stakeholders evaluated the potential projects and identified our first process to be improved, Customer Refunds.

Since that time we have completed another 5 process improvements using Lean principles and are about to start our seventh.

So what have we learnt during our Lean journey?
  • Not all Lean Rapid Improvement Events take a long time. We’ve done small processes within a team in a day.
  • You don’t have to have a dedicated Lean department but it would make it easier (otherwise the day job tends to take priority).
  • Support of senior management is essential.
  • Get dates into diaries early.
  • Outline the ‘sections’ within the Rapid Improvement Event prior to the event so people know what to expect.
  • Set and reiterate ground rules.
  • Prepare people for the fact that change can be difficult and it’s not all plain sailing.
  • Have a lot of post it notes and pens available!

Would we go on this journey again? Yes of course we would. The results have been spectacular; we’ve improved our student experience, increased our efficiency by reducing the time to complete a process and enhanced collaboration across teams.

Something we didn’t expect from Lean is the way that it has encouraged staff to start thinking about how they undertake their work, with people starting to make small improvements to how they work outside of Lean.

Would we do things differently? Like anything there are always ways you can do things differently but it wouldn’t be Lean if we didn’t continuously improve what we do!

Further information about The London Institute of Banking & Finance:
  • The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) is the only specialist provider of dedicated personal finance qualifications for children and young people, helping them to develop vital money management skills for life. We work with over 600 schools and colleges and over 35,000 young people every year.
  • We also deliver cutting edge Higher Education degree courses for students aiming to pursue a career in banking and finance at our university campus in central London.
  • For those already working in the finance sector, we provide industry-leading qualifications covering a wide range of subjects, including banking, regulation, conduct, ethics, investment, mortgage advice, financial advice and complaints handling.
  • LIBF is a registered charity, incorporated by Royal Charter. For more information please visit:




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