The thing that I like the best about Lean thinking is that it is all about the worker. They are the ones that can see what needs to be improved because they are at the front line where all the good and bad parts of a process are glaringly obvious. Lean celebrates this by empowering the entire organization to listen to the worker.
In old style, top down management, when an employee made a suggestion, it was usually ignored. Management felt that the employee could not possibly have a better idea than the standard system. In fact, Management was conceited enough to think that 'they' had all the answers. How terribly wrong this concept was!
Through Lean education, the organization learns to value the worker's input. Not only is it valuable, it is essential, because Management does not see the intricacies of the day in and day out operation. Sure, Management aggregates data, initiates Lean processes, communicates the changes, and measures the successes and failures; but Lean would be nothing without the worker.
It is time that organizations value the worker for what they are: the heart and soul of their company. In my little department, we have only 24.4 FTEs, but together it adds up to over 500 years of experience. I defy any manager to match that sum of knowledge.