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Transformation Summit 2016
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Workshops: $800/$1600 USD
$600/$1200 for conference attendees

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Lean Transformation Pre-Summit Workshops

For those who want to make the most of this opportunity, LEI is offering Pre-Summit Workshops Mar 15-16. These in-depth programs will help move you beyond individual "tools" and isolated improvement projects to build leadership capabilities and develop management skills needed to create the complete lean enterprise and a culture of problem solving. There is a 25% discount on Pre-Sumit Workshops for Summit attendees.
Breakfast is served daily at 7:00 AM and workshops begin at 8:00 AM.



Tuesday Wednesday Saturday
Creating a Sustainable Lean Culture Sold Out Veteran's Village Volunteer Activity
Kanban for Knowledge Work Sold Out
Lead with Respect: Practicing Respect for People to Enable Engagement, Teamwork & Accountability
Managing to Learn: The Use of the A3 Management Process
Strategy Deployment and Alignment through Hoshin
Lean Product Development: Delivering New Products, Faster and Better Capturing the Value of Lean Sold Out
Step 1: Skills to Coach for Development: Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving Sold Out Step 2: Skills to Coach for Development: Basic Techniques for Humble Inquiry Questioning
The Thinking Production System: Fundamentals of Work Gemba Walks
Understanding Lean Transformation Prepare for Every Person

$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Wed, Mar 16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Capturing the Value of Lean

Transitioning the culture of an organization into one that practices lean-thinking requires time, commitment and resources. Regardless of whether an organization is just starting out or has been practicing lean for years, at some point, many organizations want to know what their investment is giving them in return. Capturing and validating that data varies by need and the capability of the organization to understand and report the qualitative and quantitative benefits of lean.

This workshop will show the connectivity between the various types of lean tools, techniques and concepts and how the benefits of using lean can be captured in both quantitative and qualitative aspects. Participants will be asked to bring specific problems or challenges with them to this workshop and throughout the day, "real-life" examples, applicable to their situation, will be given to show how to capture the benefits of lean based upon their specific need.

Smaller, short-term and larger, long-term trends will be reviewed so participants will be able to grasp the current situation of who their customers are, what they want, what they need and/or what is value-added to them, in order to ensure they understand HOW to see the benefits that their customers will understand and appreciate.

A variety of approaches will be reviewed to demonstrate and practice how to capture the qualitative and quantitative data and how to describe these benefits to their customers in a meaningful way and in a common language.

These benefits will also be connected to the financial statements so over time, they will know what leading indicators to monitor in order to validate what's working and where to potentially prioritize other lean initiatives. At the end of this workshop, participants will leave with an action plan, specific to their needs, to aid them in capturing the qualitative and quantitative benefits of lean within their organization. 

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this workshop, participants will

  • Have a better understanding of the qualitative and quantitative value of lean
  • Learn several approaches to capture the value of their lean activities
  • Apply their specific situation to a profit model
  • Practice speaking in a common language that resonates with their customers
  • See where the benefits will and will not appear on the financial statements over time

This workshop is appropriate for continuous improvement leaders in a wide range of industries, functional areas, and levels, such as

  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Service industries
  • Non-financial and financial professionals
  • Operations
  • Business process functional areas (e.g. HR, IT, Finance, etc.)

$1200 (summit attendees)
$1600 (workshop only)
Tue-Wed, Mar 15-16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Michael Hoseus Michael Hoseus

Creating a Sustainable Lean Culture (2 Days)

Most companies embarking on a lean journey soon become frustrated with kaizen events and isolated improvement projects that yield great short-term results but have no sustainability. They are searching for something more: the culture of continuous improvement with its purpose, processes, and people aligned to cultivate problem solving at all levels every day.

This workshop is designed to demonstrate how to coach leadership to connect and simultaneously develop the "Product" and the "People" Value Streams in your organization, which will drive the lean transformation resulting in increased profitability and long-term mutual prosperity. The program will help you learn how to bring to life the True North" or the guiding principles of your company, and how to use it to align all activities and projects with your organization's primary objectives. We will discuss the "Line of Sight" to the company goals or business plan (Hoshin), normally centered around the key performance indicators (i.e. Quality, Cost, Productivity, Safety, and HR Development), and explain the specific steps/actions needed to create a problem-solving process in daily activities in order to bridge the gaps outlined by the company Hoshin plan:

  • Communication
  • Buy-in
  • Employee engagement, and more.

Finally, we will discuss how to integrate this process into the development of the Lean Daily Management Development System.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn actions that lead to improving your profits and cash flow.
  • Understand why simply focusing on "cost cutting" in these challenging times is the wrong approach.
  • Learn why "delegating lean" to others doesn't work, and may actually hurt your bottom line.
  • Understand how having the wrong performance measures can negatively affect your organization
  • Learn how to use lean to link your business needs to your daily activities
  • Understand and implement processes and systems to sustain your improvement activity

$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Wed, Mar 16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Ernie Richardson Ernie Richardson

Gemba Walks

One of the core skills of lean practitioners at any level is an ability to apply - in a disciplined way - the scientific method of PDCA (plan-do-check-act) in order to solve organizational problems that affect the value-creating process. The reason we refer to the PDCA process as "scientific" is that it requires an in-depth understanding of the root causes of every problem which can only be achieved through direct observation of work processes and fact-based information that comes from people who work in these processes.

So let's stop analyzing numerous bits of data on our computer screens. Let's put on hold heated discussions about the best way to solve a problem that we've been having in a conference room for hours. Instead, let's go to the gemba and SEE what is going on there

Outline for the Program:

  • First, let's take a walk and talk about what we see. Gemba walk followed by a debrief
  • What is the purpose of a gemba walk? Why take a walk? What do we hope to accomplish?
  • What is the process of a gemba walk? How do we take a walk? What are we looking for and why?
  • What are the people issues associated with a gemba walk? What does respect for people really mean? Understanding and managing our impact.

Basic Leadership/Management behavior and principles:

  • Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect - What these things really mean and how they factor into a gemba walk
  • Looking at and understanding process rather than just looking at results
  • Management as science and discipline rather than art
  • Develop a plan for our second gemba walk. Let's take another gemba walk and talk about what we see
  • Debrief on differences between our first and second walk
  • Lean leadership behaviors and methods
  • Modern versus Lean management. Thinking about our management systems and how they drive behavior, thinking and business results
  • What is the "work" and the added value of management?
  • Processes and tools/methods to accomplish the value-added of management
  • Understanding the "right" tool at the right level in the organization
  • Summary and Q&A

Who should attend:
Managers and executives who are responsible for value-creating or support processes in their organizations. Continuous improvement professionals who work with leaders and managers helping them move from conventional to lean management. It's highly desirable that operations and CI leaders team up to attend this workshop so they can continue supporting each other in their gemba walks once they return to their organizations.

$1200 (summit attendees)
$1600 (workshop only)
Tue-Wed, Mar 15-16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Jim Benson Jim Benson

Kanban for Knowledge Work (2 Days)

A simple, effective management system for digging out of work -- and staying dug out -- to achieve higher quality, better productivity, greater job satisfaction, and peace of mind.

Feeling buried?

If you’re a knowledge worker – anyone who manages, analyzes, organizes, codes, crunches, designs, plans, markets, coaches, etc., etc. -- you are buried in work.

And you’re sinking deeper daily.

The reason is that you can’t see knowledge work. In manufacturing and some service industries, co-workers and managers can see widgets on an assembly line, customers in a queue, or patients overflowing a waiting room. Knowledge work is mostly invisible. 

The result is that your work-in-process (WIP) grows as you get or agree to do more and more projects. Before you know it, you’re overloaded. You can’t think deeply about what you’re doing, let alone find enough time for continuous improvement. Productivity slows. Mistakes and defects grow. Morale and job satisfaction decline.

What can you do? How can you get control?

Your growing WIP is too much to manage effectively by memory, paper planners, or to-do lists whether written or digital. And the complexity of computerized productivity programs can make them just more work to manage. There really hasn’t been a simple, effective solution – until now. And it uses the lean management concepts you probably are familiar with already. 

Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, work flow experts and authors of the Shingo Award-winning book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life, have successfully applied lean management principles to knowledge work for individuals, teams, and companies. In this two-day workshop, they’ll show you a practical and proven system that makes knowledge work visible, calms disruptive variations in workloads, and converts mountain of WIP into an actionable, manageable flow of work.

They’ve adapted Toyota’s lean management concept of kanban (Japanese for sign board) into a framework for managing knowledge work. If you’re not familiar with lean or kanban, don’t worry. You won’t have to learn any Japanese words or manufacturing terms. If you are familiar with kanban, you’ll recognize familiar fundamental features -- make work visible, track its flows, identify areas for improvement, and pull in work when you – or your team members -- have the capacity to do it.

Workshop Benefits

  • Understand and implement a system that makes knowledge work visible and tames overloads so you get more done and actually enjoy work more.
  • Explore how limiting WIP allows you to complete what you start, leading to greater productivity and better quality.
  • Prove your value to executives by maximizing the quality and volume of your work and your team’s.
  • Learn how to schedule the right work at the right time.
  • Discover how to apply lean concepts to individual and team knowledge work.
  • Know how to take on only the work you have the capacity to do so you know what you can promise to do – and what you can justifiably say “no” to.
  • Recognize how to “pull” in new work when a job is completed.
  • Improve the way you work and make decisions.
  • Eliminate frustrating “guess-timates” about project completion in favor of accurate (and surprisingly simple) statistical methods.
  • Have more time for balance in your personal, professional, and social lives.

What You’ll Cover

Day 1 - Preparing to Implement

  • Quality guru’s W. Edwards Deming's system of profound knowledge
  • Lean management
  • Systems thinking, knowledge, variation, and the psychology of work

Kanban as a Personal Framework

  • Understanding personal workloads
  • Value-stream mapping for knowledge work
  • Work item identification
  • Task sizing
  • Work-in-process limits
  • Dynamic collaboration
  • Measuring variation
  • Single and double loop learning

“Lean Coffee” #1: Why This Won’t Work

Lean Coffee is a quick, focused meeting in which you democratically set the agenda. You’ll talk about why kanban won’t work at your company to help Jim and Toni zero in on your challenges to address.

 Lean Project Management

  • Overwork
  • Context switching
  • Task switching
  • Effects of multitasking and repetition on knowledge workers
  • Lean metrics and systems measurement

 Lean Coffee #2: What you found useful, important, or under-explained from the first day.  

Day 2 – How to Implement

  • Visualizing Work
  • Applying value-stream mapping,
  • Visualizing non-conforming work
  • Visualizing multiple projects
  • Exercise: Building personal kanban boards together

Limiting Work-in-Process

  • The concept of flow and what it means to knowledge workers
  • Activity: using the personal kanban board
  • Tracking completion times
  • Calculating the cost of delay
  • Forecasting completion times

Lean Coffee 3: How does my work change?

Risk Assessment, Prioritization, and Communication

  • Using complexity science to communicate true risk and prioritize work
  • Using the kanban board to tell stories
  • Exercise: Create a prioritized backlog of work based on risk assessment

Who Will Be There

Professionals from manufacturing, service, government or healthcare industries who develop or manage the development and use of knowledge.

$1200 (summit attendees)
$1600 (workshop only)
Tue-Wed, Mar 15-16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Mike Orzen Mike Orzen

Lead with Respect: Practicing Respect for People to Enable Engagement, Teamwork & Accountability (2 Days)

Building a great organization requires effective leadership. It turns out that leadership skills can be learned. A key element that is often misunderstood is what it means to lead with respect. This learning session explores why leading with respect is essential in a successful transformation, what respect looks like in practice, and how it impacts your people to drive lasting change for the better. 

The session provides an in-depth review of the model introduced in the book, Lead with Respect, a novel of lean practice, by Michael and Freddy Balle’ and was developed in collaboration with Professor Balle’. 

Leading with respect involves awareness of our focus and intention, and how well we are connecting with people to create an environment of mutual trust and sustained high levels of performance. This is accomplished through the application of 7 core practices:

  • Go and See for Yourself: a primary skill of Lead with Respect is going to the gemba, where value is created, to see with your own eyes to begin to deeply understand the work environment, processes, products, services, and, most importantly, the obstacles your people face everyday. This foundational practice is the basis of showing respect and standing in their shoes to genuinely understand.

  • Creating a Meaningful Challenge: a key to getting people to work together is to agree on the problem before disagreeing about solutions. Rather than setting fixed goal posts and objectives, “challenge” is about highlighting specific improvement dimensions in any job. The art and persistence of challenging brings an influx of energy and constructive tension to get teams focused on the right problems they need to solve.

  • Effective Listening: challenges exist because of very real barriers preventing people from doing what we want and need to accomplish. Listening means standing in their shoes and looking through their eyes until one understands the point of view the employee is expressing and the reality the obstacles have to them. Listening also means actively going to the gemba, pointing out physical facts, and trying simple ideas right away so that people deflate obstacles and focus more on facts.

  • Teaching and Coaching: the heart of people development in lean is problem-based learning. Problem solving can be taught by teaching how to define a problem as a gap with a standard (or an ideal state), how to grasp the situation by examining factors one by one with quick experiments, how to set a target for improvement, how to ask “why?” repeatedly and seek root cause, how to imagine alternative ways of working, pick one and complete it, how to evaluate the outcome to draw the right conclusions, and then establish the right standards to stabilize the countermeasure and move on to the next problem. This is the kind of learning that generates real behavior change and higher levels of performance.

  • Supporting Others: the practice ofdaily kaizen, and supporting people while they experiment with continuous process improvement, is the key to creating a kaizen culture. Daily kaizen is a natural offshoot of visual control as teams see for themselves where the process is going awry and work at getting it back to standard. Both visual control driven kaizen and improvement driven kaizen need to be supported by management stepping in and showing an interest by highlighting problems and clearing obstacles, as well as recognizing and reinforcing the effort of employees committing to daily kaizen.

  • Fostering Teamwork: teamwork is the individual skill of working with others across borders. Teamwork starts by respecting another’s opinion and trying hard to understand their point of view (which doesn’t always mean agreeing). Teamwork requires shared objectives. Teamwork also means knowing how to separate the person from the problem - being tough on the problem without placing blame so that a genuine win-win space can emerge.

  • Learning as a Leader: a key Lead With Respect skill is to learn to plant in local kaizen efforts the seeds of answers to the larger overall business challenges considered during the Challenge practice. Learning means leaders discerning new ways of seeing the business so that, in solving detailed work problems, they learn to see and discover what topics matter most to the business’ future development. Leaders learn to appreciate others’ experience and perspectives and discover what others have to teach them. Lastly, they learn how to enable growth in others. 

Driving outcomes centered on Results & Relationships:

Effective leadership requires a dual focus: achieve great results through great behavior. Fostering the right behavior in others requires solid relationships built on trust, respect, transparency, and consistency. The results you need to achieve can only be reached through the efforts of your people. As your people learn new skills, and together with leaders, build a workplace that enables and supports the courage and vulnerability required to learn, practice, and master the core practices of Lead with Respect, results and healthy relationships with workers, customers, and suppliers are natural outcomes. 

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the 7 practices of Lead with Respect
  • Apply Lead With Respect principles to their daily work
  • Practice Lead with Respect concepts with their colleagues
  • Examine how to manage their personal journey of development and growth utilizing Lead with Respect practices


Through instruction, small group discussions, and hands-on exercises, session participants will: 

  1. Understand how to apply the 7 practices of Lead with Respect
  2. Learn by doing through a series of exercises and breakouts
  3. Leave the workshop with a personal plan of growth and practice
  4. Return to work with a new paradigm of Leadership 

Who should attend? 

  • Senior Leaders
  • Managers
  • Improvement Deployment Leaders & Lean Champions
  • Lean and CI Practioners of all levels

$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Tue, Mar 15
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Jim Luckman Jim Luckman

Lean Product Development: Delivering New Products, Faster and Better

Many companies have applied lean thinking to manufacturing or service processes. Some have experienced big performance gains through standardization, elimination of waste, and problem-solving. But applying lean principles to Product Development requires a different mindset and totally different approach. Manufacturing (and some service value streams) are transactional; they can be managed through standard tools and principles. Product Development is about creating knowledge and requires different skills.

Lean Creative Mind

LPPD requires that you separate knowledge creation from transactional processes and learn as fast as you can, upfront, before ever executing the detailed work of design. It requires that you engage the people doing the workin a process for understanding and improving those specific areas that are contributing to performance problems.

In this workshop you’ll learn how to define the performance problem of your product development process. You’ll learn how to focus on the few areas of improvement that can make significant and rapid improvements to your organization. You’ll design a team process for fast cycles of learning and experience how to continually improve your learning. And you’ll learn how to prioritize and run select experiments on active products, using the discipline of continuous PDCA. And most importantly, you’ll learn how to learn fast, in cross-functional teams and reduce delays and rework associated with learning.


  • Understand how the concepts and tools are applied in lean product development
  • Learn how Toyota and other companies implementing lean have evolved a product development process to maximize knowledge growth and minimize lead time
  • Learn about the most common problems we have observed about product development in many companies across diverse industries
  • Learn how to create fast learning cycle teams that will enable your organization to reduce product development lead time and increase throughput
  • Learn how to reduce the time for learning through lean product development concepts
  • Discover ways you can spread lean thinking across interdependent functional areas to improve the entire development process

 Concepts Covered:

  • Knowledge creation
  • Fast cycles of learning
  • Problem definition for product development
  • Design breakdown
  • Management of learning
  • Narrowing process
  • Reuse of knowledge
  • Handling interruptions
Who Should Attend?
  • Engineering managers interested in improving the product development process through application of lean principles for learning
  • Leaders wanting to understand how to apply these lean principles in their organization
  • Managers with experience in lean transformations and/or product development
  • Leaders with a role in developing new products/services for their organization
  • Prerequisite:  At a minimum, people attending this workshop should have a basic understanding of Value Stream Mapping.

$1200 (summit attendees)
$1600 (workshop only)
Tue-Wed, Mar 15-16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Tracey Richardson Tracey Richardson

Managing to Learn: The Use of the A3 Management Process (2 Days)

Where is YOUR organization?

When you hear A3, what comes to mind? A paper size, tool, or a process? Look at the diagram below. Where would your organization fall on this chart? Our observation is most people use A3s on special projects as a “report out” tool of the results. Although this provides the benefit of a quick summary it doesn’t begin to take advantage of the benefit of the A3 or of the A3 thinking process. Using an A3 as a report out tool is like using a smartphone exclusively for phone calls. Yes, you are getting some value, but only a fraction of what is possible. 

As Jim Womack says, "The most basic definition of an A3 would be a P-D-C-A storyboard or report, reflecting Toyota's way of capturing the PDCA process on one sheet of paper. But the broader notion of the A3 as a process–embodying the way of thinking represented in the format–captures the heart of lean management. In this context, an A3 document structures effective and efficient dialogue that fosters understanding followed by the opportunity for deep agreement.” How often do you experience “deep agreement” in your team or organization? He goes, “It's a tool that engenders communication and dialogue in a manner that leads to good decisions, where the proposed countermeasures have a better chance of being effective because they are based on facts and data gathered at the place where the work is performed, from the people who perform it."

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the lessons and insights of Managing to Learn from four perspectives.

Note: each participant will receive a copy of Managing to Learn.

1. First, you’ll learn sound A3 thinking and management by following the stages of learning shared in Managing To Learn (MTL). MTL describes how a young manager learns to handle a significant problem-solving responsibility by creating an A3 that earns him the authority to address the problem in the ways he proposes. You’ll examine how the A3 changes with each revision, what the young manager has learned about the A3 thinking, the A3 process that he applies in each revision, and what the course of his development indicates about the deep problem-solving focus that characterizes lean thinking.

2. Next, you’ll get the chance to develop your own eyes and ears to recognize effective A3 stories. You’ll describe the problem-solving thinking that is required for each section of the A3 for the PDCA story it tells to be effective.

3. Then, you’ll create your own A3s. You’ll address real problems you’re already working on every day for this exercise. You’ll work in small groups to read, discuss, and evaluate each other's A3s. And then you’ll have the chance to coach each other, offering guidance on how to improve each other’s A3 stories.

4. Finally, you’ll learn various forms and uses of the A3 process. You’ll have examples from Managing to Learn to use as a guide. And you’ll explore the following:

  • Basic types of A3 stories and how the format differs for each
  • Role that A3 plays in the process for gaining alignment with the stakeholders in a problem situation and seeking their agreement to proceed with the countermeasures or improvements being proposed
  • Ways that A3 functions as a change management tool, a general management tool, a human development tool and a knowledge sharing too


Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, the workshop participants will:

  • Learn the basic formats of A3s and uses of the A3 as a management process
  • Gain experience in the three basic roles of the A3 process (Author/Owner, Responder, Coach)

Who should attend:

  • Any manager who wishes to improve his or her organization
  • Any manager who wishes to lead and manage his or her organization more effectively
  • Change agents, lean promotion office managers, and specialists
  • HR and OD professionals who wish to seek more effective means to deeply improve the thinking, behavior, alignment, and performance of their organization and the people in it
  • Senior executives who wish to improve their abilities to lead and manage
  • Anyone who wishes to improve his or her critical lean thinking

$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Wed, Mar 16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Hank Bias Hank Bias

Prepare for Every Person

Improve people’s capabilities and your skills as a coach using the timeless, proven methods of legendary coach John Wooden

At the first squad meeting of every season, iconic UCLA basketball coach John Wooden showed his players how to put on their socks and athletic shoes. Then he had them practice it. His teams won 10 NCAA titles in 12 years and 38 straight tournament games. Wooden was named NCAA Coach of the Year six times and Men’s College Coach of the 20th Century by the Basketball Hall of Fame and ESPN. 

Teaching athletes how to put on shoes and socks will seem trivial to an average coach. But Wooden had uncovered a key issue for instruction: Wrinkled socks led to blisters, which led to lost playing time. UCLA researchers studying Wooden’s methods would identify this and three other behaviors he used that served as a continuous improvement system for coaching:

1. Recognize key instructional issues.

2. Develop and implement coaching plans.

3. Use evidence in reflecting and developing next steps.

4. Constantly look for ways to improve.

Years later, Henry Bias was a struggling high school basketball coach in Ohio when he was mentored by Wooden. His teams improved from 3-17 to 17-6 in three-years. In six-years, they won more games than any men’s basketball team in the school’s history, garnering Bias league coach-of-the-year accolades. His learning journey became the subject of a case study by UCLA researchers.  

Now, Bias has adapted for business what he learned from Wooden and his own coaching journey. If you are responsible for coaching people to higher levels of performance – and also want to continuously improve your performance as a coach -- this workshop gives you exactly what you need.

Workshop Benefits

  • Learn by doing – you’ll study and practice John Wooden’s proven coaching behaviors and methods.
  • Understand how to do the detailed planning and instruction needed to make coaching sessions successful.
  • Learn why you have to coach every person on the team as an individual and how to develop specific plans to do it.
  • Learn how to identify the critical needs of the overall team and develop the optimal coaching techniques to meet them.
  • Through individual and small group activities, you’ll develop an actual change management plan for coaching to take back to work.
  • Understand how to analyze and improve your coaching.
  • Gain greater capability and confidence as a coach and manager.

What You’ll Cover

The workshop uses individual and small group activities, video, lecture, discussion, reflection, and analysis to cover:

  • Why prepare to coach every person?
  • Questions to ask yourself before you start coaching
  • The art of the 3-part demonstration
  • Anticipating individual corrections
  • The correct way to correct
  • How to increase complexity and intensity in coaching
  • The 2 greatest skills of any effective leader/coach
  • Knowing your team members
  • Identifying neglected instructional areas
  • How to create learning opportunities and activities
  • How to introduce new concepts
  • How to teach fundamentals first
  • Recognizing pivotal moments when coaching
  • 3 words you can use for immediate impact on who you are coaching. 

Who Will Be There

Middle to upper-level managers and continuous improvement professionals from a variety of companies, organizations, and industries who are responsible for developing and improving people’s performance;.


$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Tue, Mar 15
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

David Verble David Verble

Step 1: Skills to Coach for Development: Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving

Formerly known as PDCA Problem Solving for Lean Coaching. We regularly PDCA our workshops and have made improvements which necessitated a title change. 

Participation in Skills to Coach for Development 1(of 4):  Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving and Skills to Coach for Development 2 (of 4): Basic Techniques for Humble Inquiry Questioning together and in that order is strongly recommended.  Beginning in 2015 the programs will be offered together and paired as the first part of a sequence of programs designed to help build the core skills for coaching to develop PDCA problem solving capability.  Those who participated in either or both programs in their earlier versions (PDCA Problem Solving for Lean Coaching and Coaching Lean Problem Solving Thinking) do not need to attend again to go through the sequence.


In the past two years a growing concern has been helping internal lean/continuous improvement (CI) coordinators and leaders develop their coaching skills. The need for internal change agents to develop these skills has increased as their companies have put greater emphasis on engaging operators and staff in solving problems and eliminating waste in their work. 

Recently it has emerged that many coordinators and leaders need more than the questioning skills for developmental coaching. They also need to sharpen their eyes and ears for sensing the soundness of the problem solving of their coachees. For lean and continuous improvement, that means they need to increase their ability to recognize the flow of activities and thinking in effective Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) problem solving. The program outlined below is intended to help address that need. 

Workshop Outline: 

This workshop will present a six-step process for investigating problems and deciding the most effective ways to eliminate them. It is intended to prepare managers, supervisors, leaders, and coaches to help others develop the information gathering and thinking skills for applying the process systematically. It is also intended to reinforce the manager and leader's role to engage employees in addressing problems within the scope of their jobs and coach them in developing the skills to follow the PDCA process rather than stepping in to solve problems for them. 

The problem solving process introduced in this workshop consists of the following six steps:

  1. Grasp the problem situation thoroughly by clarifying the performance gap and locating the abnormal events and conditions in work process that are contributing to the gap.
  2. Describe the target conditions to be achieved by addressing the problems in measurable and observable terms.
  3.  Identify and confirm the underlying cause(s) of the abnormal events and conditions. 
  4. Identify, evaluate, and select countermeasures to the causes that will eliminate them.
  5. Create and get agreement to a plan of activities, timing, and responsibilities to implement the countermeasrues. 
  6. Follow up to address problems in implementation and confirm the effectiveness of countermeasures.

The critical importance of grasping the actual conditions of problem solving situations (firsthand whenever possible) will be stressed from problem definition, through cause invegstigation, to planning and execution, to follow-up to address implementation barriers, to reflection.

You will be introduced to the six basic steps of the process and how to assure each activity is based on precise and thorough grasp of actual conditions. You will practice applying the activities on work flow performance issues that you bring to the program. The following instructional tools and methods will be used to give you deeper understanding of the thinking required in each step and experience recognizing when the acitivies are performed effectively and the outcomes are sound PDCA problem solving: 

  1. Description of each step in the process and the key points in the step, examples of the outcome of the activities of the step, and an explanation of the purpose of the step.
  2. The application of each step will be demonstrated and a review of the key points related to achieving its outcome.
  3. You will be facilitated in working through a practice case with a support tool and questions and coaching by the instructor.
  4. You will work through actual worksite problems in small teams and practice coaching one another on the effectiveness of your problem solving thinking and grasp the siutation. 

Expected Outcomes

You  will receive tools for support in demonstrating the thinking in the six step PDCA process and in facilitating others in working through the process.  One is a questioning guide that individuals and teams can use to help them think through the problem solving and decision making activities. Managers, supervisors, leaders and internal coaches can also use the tools and guide to coach groups and individuals through the sex basic steps of the PDCA process.

$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Wed, Mar 16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

David Verble David Verble

Step 2: Skills to Coach for Development: Basic Techniques for Humble Inquiry Questioning

Formerly known as Coaching Lean Problem Solving Thinking. We regularly PDCA our workshops and make improvements which may necessitate a title change. If you have previously take Coaching Lean Problem Solving Thinking, we do not recommend that you take this course. 

Participation in Skills to Coach for Development 1 (of 4):  Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving andSkills to Coach for Development 2 (of 4): Basic Techniques for Humble Inquiry Questioning together and in order is strongly recommended. Beginning in 2015 the programs will be offered together and paired as the first part of a sequence of programs designed to help build the core skills for coaching to develop PDCA problem solving capability.  

Lean leaders and change agents generally have to implement improvements through people they don’t manage. They have the responsibility but little or no authority to accomplish their goals. Getting people to complete the tasks they assign or meet the schedules they set requires constant attention, encouragement, cajoling, and often taking the lead on the activities themselves.

There is a better way. Switch from trying to be the person out front leading the charge to being someone who utilizes his or her knowledge and experience to coach employees when needed. In other words, try the sensei or Socratic approach to coaching and leading to develop the capability of employees to be self-sufficient problem solvers. 

The purpose of this one-day workshopis to help lean leaders and change agents understand the importance of the role of the developmental coach in improving value-stream performance and develop the basic skills and perspectives to function effectively in that role. 

Specifically the program will introduce the questions technique of Humble Inquiry that can be used to lead others through problem solving and implementing lean improvements - without taking over the problem solving thinking.

Workshop Activities:  Participants will be facilitated as they:

  • Look at the common image of the coach and examine the realities of the role.
  • Describe the work of a lean developmental coach and how to tell if it is effective.
  • Consider the special requirements and challenges of coaching those responsible for lean problem solving and continuous process improvement.
  • Recognize the role of lean problem solving thinking in lean implementation.
  • Examine the developmental approach to coaching and recognize it is not necessary to be a lean expert to coach other problem solving thinkers.
  • Practice the skills of open-ended questioning, attentive listening, recognizing sound PDCA problem solving thinking and put the skills together to practice Humble Inquiry questioning.
  • Explore and practice the key activities in the process of Coaching for Development:

          - Giving lean implementers a task or project as their own responsibility

          - Prompting awareness as others investigate, think and experiment on their own

          - Helping others see results versus processes and compare plan versus actual

          - Forcing reflection and learning from it


Through instruction, discussions, group activities, and hands-on exercises, the you will:

  • Recognize the assumptions behind the traditional function of a coach and the limitations of coaching for correction
  • Understand the developmental approach to coaching and recognize how its perspective and techniques contribute to implementing and sustaining lean through problem solving.
  • Increase their skills for asking open questions and listening attentively to facilitate, prompt, and develop the problem solving thinking and decision making of others.
  • Practice using attendive listening and open questioning to recognize where coachees are in their porblem solving thinking and assess their effectiveness through comparison to the flow of PDCA problem solving.
  • Put the above skills and techniques together to practice Humble Inquiry questioning to coach and develop someone's problem solving thinking.
  • Assess your own effectiveness as lean problem solving coaches and set goals developing your skills. 

$1200 (summit attendees)
$1600 (workshop only)
Tue-Wed, Mar 15-16
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Strategy Deployment and Alignment through Hoshin (2 Days)

Many organizations struggle with how to best engage the workforce to an aligned direction that ensures business viability. In most cases upper management understands that it has responsibility to connect the company's people to the purpose of the organization. But how do you do that effectively? How can managers build the culture of an organization where management is purposeful in its approach?

Hoshin planning is a management system that aligns – both vertically and horizontally – an organization's functions and activities with its strategic objectives.

Hoshin planning is also ideally a process that releases creativity in each Team Member as goals are developed in a dynamic, catch-ball process that involves a dialogue between each level of management about annual corporate objectives.  This engaged dialogue promotes the capability of the organization to manage based on purpose.


This workshop will help leaders understand Hoshin Planning as a core process for defining and creating annual objectives and developing people based on those objectives.

This workshop will also clarify how Hoshin Planning (also referred to as strategy deployment) can be utilized to define a clear strategic framework that can strengthen an organization through enabling sustained high performance and produces long-term results. 

Finally, this workshop will clarify the relationship of hoshin planning (which functions like the skeleton) to A3 problem solving(which functions like the muscle).

Workshop Topics:

a) Discuss fundamental framework for hoshin kanri.

b) Clarify conditions for successful execution of hoshin planning and alignment in an organization.

c) Develop initial plan to implement hoshin kanri in your own organization.

d) See how to build structure of PDCA at individual and corporate levels.

e) Understand how hoshin planning connects to A3 problem solving.

Who should attend:

Lean leaders, managers, and executives involved with strategy deployment

$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Tue, Mar 15
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Jeff Smith Jeff Smith

The Thinking Production System: Fundamentals of Work

In the words of John Shook, “The essence of lean thinking is about the WORK. Lean means working on the work: the value-creating work that occurs on the frontlines of your enterprise.”

This experiential workshop takes a deep dive into the WORK.

Over the course of the day participants will learn core TPS technical skills covering work from the individual level to the system level. In the first of two simulations participants will be challenged to improve an assembly job using proven methods to see the work and reduce the waste around it.  In the second simulation, they will experience work from three perspectives: assembly operation, material inputs, and information flow.  Through the two hands-on simulations, participants will see how the fundamental work principles of TPS enable standardized work, continuous flow, and pull. Importantly, the simulations will demonstrate how these principles do not function in isolation, rather function in a carefully woven system.

There are no PowerPoint slides. But there is a Mr. Potato Head and Legos.

Workshop Outline

  • Deep Work Observation
    • Learn why motion DOES NOT always equal work.
    • Learn to distinguish value-add work, non-value-add work, and waste.
    • Break down work and waste between left and right hands.
  • Work Distribution with Mr. Potato Head Assembly Exercise
    • Learn to define and draw work elements.
    • Break down work elements into value-add, non-value-add, and waste categories.
  • Systems Thinking with Lego Simulation
    • Create the necessary physical conditions for standardized work to be effective as an initial baseline for kaizen.
    • Understand how continuous flow helps enable visual control and operator rhythm.
    • Apply a basic fill-up system from shipping to assembly.
The Work Pie: motion does not necessarily equal work.


By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and eliminate workplace burdens that obstruct high-density value-add work and productivity. Example burdens include walk, reach, memory retention, and recall.
  • Recognize work elements that comprise a process and evaluate the process based on its work and waste.
  • Design the conditions for effective work.
  • Engage and draw out the creativity of their workforce using learned and observed techniques.

Who Should Attend

  • Individuals or teams with little to moderate experience with TPS and lean thinking.
  • Operations managers, technical managers and change agents who want to get exposure to lean thinking and practice through hands-on simulation.
  • Businesses with manual assembly operations and those interested in exploring how a process and system can create a competitive advantage in any company.


$600 (summit attendees)
$800 (workshop only)
Tue, Mar 15
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Josh Howell Josh Howell

Mark Reich Mark Reich

Understanding Lean Transformation

We are all trying to transform. At the company level a transformation is a very big experiment indeed, at both the macro level, and at the very granular level of the daily—hourly—immediate—work itself.

To transform the way people think and behave within an organization to be more of a problem-solving mindset is no easy task and varies from industry-to-industry, company-to-company, person-to-person.  It requires discipline, investment and a belief that we can make things better.

Workshop Description

Successful transformation calls for asituational approach that is based on innovating key dimensions of any organization through addressing a series of questions. These questions are fractal—meaning that the same questions apply whether working at the macro enterprise level or the level of individual responsibility as you dive progressively deeper into each dimension. But, while the transformation model that has emerged through years of experience is situational, the nature of the questions represent a clearpoint of view: If an organization fails to address each question, and with a sense of how each relates to the others, the transformation is headed for trouble.

Effective total transformation entails transforming five fundamental dimensions, through continuously addressing key questions associated with each:

  1. What is our purpose, what value to create or what situational problem are we trying to solve? 
    Have you made the purpose or mission clear to everyone? Does everyone know their value to create? Does each person know their specific, situational problem to solve?
  2. How are we improving the actual work? 
    Have you defined the work to be done? Is it being improved? How, by what means, to what end?
  3. How are we developing capability? 
    Do you have the necessary capabilities? Have you defined them? What is your approach to capability building? How are you developing people?
  4. What management system and leadership behaviors are required to support the new way of working? 
    Have you designed the management system and do your leaders exhibit the needed behaviors (to develop capability to do the work to accomplish the mission)?
  5. What basic thinking, mindset, or assumptions underlie this transformation? 
    Do you understand the current basic thinking (mindsets, assumptions, as well as values) and grasp its impact on the organization and its culture? What are you going to do to change the basic thinking and culture in desired directions?

By tackling each dimension through addressing questions, we avoid the pitfall of prescriptively giving solutions as is typical of most consultancy approaches to transformation.  Thus, we can have a dynamic approach to transformation in which each organization creates its own unique approach, one that helps them achieve their unique purpose through practical utilization of the deep wisdom embedded in the lean practices that have evolved over decades of rigorous PDCA.

We have learned that tackling the five dimensions through continually and thoroughly addressing these questions is both necessary and sufficient for a successful enterprise-wide transformation. 

Come explore the components of the Lean Transformation Model, see examples of what others are doing and reflect upon some potential gaps to close within your own organization.

Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, the workshop participants will:

  • Understand the five basic dimensions of organization change
  • Gain insights into key elements of a lean organization and the Lean Transformation Model
  • Reflect upon your own organization and/or project according to the LTM
  • Use key questions to begin creating a framework to guide your organization’s transformation

Who should attend:

  • Senior Leaders
  • Improvement Deployment Leaders
  • Strategy Officers

Price: $50
Sat, Mar 19
8:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Veteran's Village Volunteer Activity


LEI is teaming up with the United Way on this Volunteer Event.

Volunteers will assist the 140 veterans living at Veteran’s Village in the Las Vegas area, by lending a helping hand and beautifying the campus as well as boosting morale by creating inspirational and encouraging notes for the residents.

Activities may include:

  • Assembling first aid kits
  • Clean up and refurbish the grounds
  • Organize and unpack food in the pantry
  • Paint living and common areas
  • Other projects as needed

All funds collected with be donated to Veteran's Village for supplies. Transportation will be provided to and from. We recommend you wear older clothing.