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Advice from the Gemba: Making Repetitive Tasks More Exciting
Repetitive tasks can create a drag on workers' morale and motivation as boredom sets in, and a disillusioned workforce will seriously hamper your lean efforts. So how do you keep repetitive tasks from becoming a source of discontent for your people? Three lean practitioners share their thoughts.… More »
Better Design Reviews, Better Products
"Design reviews are a common process in product and process development," writes Katrina Appell. And they're common for good reason. Read more to learn why these processes are so critical to successful product and process development, as well as the impact they've had through a real-life story that Katrina shares.… More »
Back to Basics: Jim Womack on Why Managers Need a "Lean State of Mind"
In this classic eletter from 2009, Jim Womack explains the crucial importance of a "lean state of mind" if a lean manager is going to be able to achieve sustainable improvements.… More »
Back to Basics: John Shook on the Role of Questions in Coaching
In this throwback to the classic John Shook eletter "Coaching and Questions; Questions and Coaching," we learn the impacts of asking coachees the right questions, as opposed to giving them the answers.… More »
Real Respect Feels Like Knowing You’re Being Heard
"A simple fact of human nature: we listen all the time but we seldom pay real attention to what we are hearing," writes David Verble. And that's a problem in lean, because nothing demonstrates respect more than listening to your people. Inspired by his experiences working with Fujio Cho, David shares some tips for showing respect as a listener.… More »
The Art of Silent Observation
Silent observation is not as intuitive as it may sound. Andrew Quibell often meets people who think it's as simple as standing and watching the work in silence. But there's much more to it than that - learn more in his new sketch and animation.… More »
Ask Art: Is there a balance between lean and full automation?
As a followup to his piece last month dealing with another aspect of lean and automation, Art Byrne now explores the oft-misunderstood balance between the two operating methods.… More »
Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself
In the third installment in his series on the importance of proper communication from managers to their employees, David Verble shares "a simple way that managers and leaders – and you, lean coordinators and coaches – can get a sense of how your words and the way they are delivered 'land' with others."… More »
Manager-Employee Communication: What Neuroscience Tells Us
In yesterday's Post, David Verble introduced us to the importance of proper, tactful communication from leaders to employees. Today he delves a bit deeper into the topic, focusing on the neuroscience behind this critical element of lean organizations.… More »
Leaders’ Actions Speak but Their Talk Matters Too
"Many organizations are investing in lean continuous improvement programs, systems and staff," writes David Verble. "Frequently there are critical pieces missing in these initiatives, however." And one of the most critical is an understanding by managers of how their talk impacts employees. Read more.… More »
Daily Management, Daily Sustainment: The Remarkable Story of Lean Transformation at Lantech
Jim Lancaster attended the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit in Carlsbad, California to speak about Lantech's journey to create a daily management system. Today on the Lean Post we feature a video of his talk on the role of management in sustaining the gains of lean.… More »
Managing to Win: The Remarkable Lean Transformation of Phase 2
Revisit the enlightening case study of Phase 2's lean transformation in the face of losing its biggest customer, plus insider info from an interview with CEO Adam Prime.… More »
Job 1?
Ford CEO Mark Fields just decided he needed to cut costs. Then he suddenly realized he had 1400 people he didn't need so decided to eliminate their jobs. Did he need those people two weeks ago? Will he need them two weeks from now?… More »
How Team Leaders Should Divide Their Time
"Through my career, I’ve seen one group of individuals on the shop floor who need the most support and training – yet instead receive weak training and inconsistent support. They are 'team leaders,'" writes Andrew Quibell. In his new sketch and animation, Quibell lays out a time-tested, Toyota-inspired plan to help these essential team leaders hold their own in times of minimal support.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make I
Making mistakes is a natural part of lean thinking and practice. Here, three LEI faculty members share some common, yet easily avoidable mistakes made by lean leaders, as well as the countermeasures that can help resolve them.… More »
Lean Quotes from "The Work of Management" to Inspire You and Your Team
For this special bonus content, check out these quotes from the new book, The Work of Management. We've included links for easy tweeting, so share away and get inspired to hone your own management systems.… More »
Working on the Management
Effective daily management is still hard to achieve for most organizations, says Jim Womack. But until line managers start tackling problems first hand as they emerge, rather than deferring and delegating them, basic stability will remain a mirage. Read more in this column from our sister publication, Planet Lean.… More »
Reflections on the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit
The main theme of the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit was "Managing to Create Problem Solvers" -- but LEI Business Editor Cam Ford spotted another, underlying theme throughout the presentations he attended. Read more to find out what it was and how can it help you create a problem solving culture in your organization.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Some forms of waste are easier to eliminate - others are so hard that they start to blur the line between "challenging" and "enraging." Today we feature three experienced lean practitioners with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them.… More »
Lean Expansion: Spreading Lean from One Store to a Region at Starbucks
Scaling up is a challenge often talked about in lean circles. How can we best leverage our individual or small-scale wins to spread lean throughout the organization? LEI faculty and Director of Learning Karen Gaudet tackled this problem head-on during her tenure working at Starbucks. Here's her story of what she experienced and learned as she spread lean throughout her region of responsibility.… More »
Is there “mudagement” in your organization?
"Mudagement." What a strange word. But to Tony Lamberton, the concept behind that word has made all the difference in identifying invisible waste in his organization - and by extension, eliminating it through targeted coaching. Lean Post editor Cam Ford recently sat down with Tony to learn more about the concept of mudagement and the value it holds for all organizations: here is their interview.… More »
How to Avoid Team Disinterest and Management Disappointment with Huddles
Team huddles are rapidly becoming a day-to-day staple in the lean organization. But too often the problem-solving aspect of huddles gets “fast-tracked” in favor of seemingly quicker and easier methods, according to David Verble, a Toyota veteran and Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) faculty member. Learn more.… More »
The Problems Inherent in Change – and What You Can Do about Them
Anyone who's been involved in an organizational transformation knows that its challenges go well beyond resistance. Katrina Appell sheds some light on the deeper challenges presented by change management plus some helpful solutions for getting past them.… More »
Ask Art: What to Look for in a Lean Team Leader
One of Art Byrne's most-asked questions is, "What are the key traits for a lean team leader?" His recommendation might surprise you - take a look and find out Art's take on this critical position in any lean organization.… More »
The Lean Management System: The Key to Sustainability and CI. An Interview with Joe Murli
Achieving wins is only half the battle in a lean transformation - you also need a way to sustain those wins and foster a culture of continuous improvement. In his first piece for the Lean Post, Joe Murli shares his favorite way of doing just that - his signature "Lean Management System," already being used by the likes of GE and Moog Aircraft Group. Read more.… More »
Narrowing the Scope of Kaizen Activities
Are you having trouble implementing kaizen activities? If so, the solution could be as simple as narrowing down your targets for improvement. Andy Quibell shares his thoughts on what should be the real focus, plus his favorite sketch for planning and executing kaizen activities.… More »
Leading with Respect is Not a Soft Skill: An interview with Mike Orzen
By definition, a hard skill is a skill that can be defined, measured, and taught. Does that sound like it describes leadership? Probably not, but Mike Orzen explains why it's time to stop thinking of leadership, specifically leadership employing the lead with respect model, as a soft skill.… More »
Key Traits and Behaviors of Great Lean Consultants
"If you want to accelerate your lean practice I highly recommend reaching out to a good lean consultant to serve as your coach, teacher, trainer," writes Art Byrnes. "Plan on working with these people over the long haul." But how can you tell the good lean consultants from the poor ones? Art has the answer.… More »
What the Best Lean Leaders All Have in Common
What characterizes a truly exceptional lean leader? With years of first-hand observations behind him, Tom Ehrenfeld weighs in with his thoughts.… More »
How to Know If Your Team is Ready for Kaizen
"Do we even know what the Kaizen aim of “engaged employees” means, beyond the clichés?" asks lean coach Lesa Nichols. Read Lesa's tips for getting a read on your team and then genuinely involving all team members in meaningful work.… More »
What Type of a Leader Do You Choose to Be?
Plenty of people want to become better leaders. Few people want to change. Michael Bremer shares his advice for more effective lean leadership by way of new leadership actions and behaviors.… More »
5 Ways My Thinking Changed With the Help of a Lean Coach
"Coaching for development is different than being managed," writes Deborah McGee. "Lean coaching in our case was not directing an improvement swat team or teaching lean workshops… It was a steadfast commitment to people, and to developing capability versus creating dependency."… More »
Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 1)
A roundup of the best recent articles and case studies from our friends at Planet Lean - this time from Brazil, Iceland, and Poland.… More »
Why Meaningful Improvement Requires a “Growth Mindset”
Ever feel frustrated, constricted, or powerless to do the right thing in your organization? Katrina Appell says it all has to do with whether or not we work in an "enabling" bureaucracy or "coercive" one.… More »
LEI's Lean Transformation Model Animated
Need a simple way of explaining lean thinking to your team? LEI has released a new animated video of how real lean change happens across five interrelated dimensions. Check out LEI's Lean Transformation Model to see if you're asking yourself and your team members the right questions.… More »
Intentional Respect
"Most organizations fail to intentionally balance the technical tools side with the social side of Lean," writes Mike Orzen. "People say, 'We respect our people. In fact, it's one of our core company values!' I don’t deny that... But there is a big difference in believing in something and acting in a way that aligns with that belief."… More »
Tried and True Strategies for Leading Lean Practice
"In my 30 plus years of leading Lean in a wide range of companies, I’ve learned common practices that work in virtually every setting," writes Art Byrne. "For an informal list such as this to have any value, you must first organize for Lean. This means changing your organizational structure from a functional batch approach to a lean value stream approach."… More »
Kaizen Event “Malpractice” and What to Do About It
Performed properly, kaizen events create the technical and cultural foundation for daily continuous improvement. Performed improperly, they can get you nowhere fast. Learn more about the real purpose of kaizen events (and how to run effective ones) in this video interview with Chet Marchwinski and LEI faculty member Mark Hamel.… More »
Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?
Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in specifying the process improvements needed? Will the process improvements you are focused on improve help you provide value to your end customers?… More »
Editor's Picks for Lean Posts to Help You Improve Your Work Monday Morning
Our picks for the most practical, "how-to" style posts we've published on the Post to date. These posts are chock full of good learning and advice we hope you can use immediately.… More »
Using Value Stream Management to Better Care for Stroke Patients
"To make value stream management really work, the most significant cause for transformation lay simply in the shifting of team members’ mindsets," writes Lori Smith. It’s been a long process, but over 5 years her team INTEGRIS has transformed the way they work. Learn what they did and read team members' feedback about the process in their own words.… More »
Strategy Deployment at The Lean Enterprise Institute
Is your organization “chasing too many rabbits?” It’s a tendency too many companies have of annually setting more strategic objectives than they can possibly implement successfully. This “chase” results in delays, discouragement, and the diversion of resources from activities that should and can be accomplished. How do you deselect “rabbits” and lead your team to effectively deliver on strategy? Jikku Mohan explains.… More »
5 Ways to Help Every Team Member Contribute Ideas for Improving Work
"Engaging staff in problem identification and suggestions for improvement is essential for any organization," writes Dan Fleming, Continuous Improvement Manager at GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership). "Yet most organizations don’t have a system that effectively encourages staff involvement." Learn how to create such a system with this short, helpful post.… More »
Book Value: What Every Manager Should Know About Training
Jeff Morrow, lean coach and faculty at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, reviews and recommends Dr. Robert Mager's 1999 book, What Every Manager Should Know About Training. Morrow goes on to explain the difference between performance-based training methods and "content" or "awareness-based" training methods.… More »
Three Types of Lean
"We’ve all heard 'Lean is great for 'that' company, but not for the business I lead,'" says Chris Vogel. Learn more about applying lean thinking in a manufacturing environment, a service environment, and in sectors that are mostly about decision making.… More »
We're Ernie and Tracey Richardson: Ask Us Anything
It's our second "Ask Me Anything" post, this time with lean coaches Tracey and Ernie Richardson. With a combined 54 years of experience at Toyota, here's your chance to ask them questions on problem solving and all things capability development!… More »
Three Lean Healthcare Success Stories From Across the Globe
Read a summary of 3 lean healthcare stories from the Lean Global Network, including reflections on what seems to make lean work in a healthcare setting. We've gathered stories from two hospitals in China and Spain, and another from a large, multi-organization public healthcare system the New York.… More »
Effective Supervision 101
One of the biggest challenges for lean thinkers is translating lean thinking into lean doing, writes Stan Shaw. One of the best ways of making this leap is making sure supervisors and team leaders deeply understand their role with frontline workers and their role in the organization. Read more.… More »
The Agile Leader's Dashboard
What does a leadership team really need to know in order to do their job well, and how can teams provide that information without wasting valuable time preparing reports?… More »
One COO's View on Learning, Leading, and Teaching
Dominic Paccapaniccia, COO of a regional healthcare center, reflects on why he and his organization chose to begin using a lean management system and shares what it's required of him as a leader and learner.… More »
The Angry Team Member and the Changing Organization
Toyota veteran and lean coach Lesa Nichols reflects on one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding conversations she had with a team member.… More »
Grasping the Real Situation
Emmanuel Jallas visits a well-respected company that is vocal about its lean transformation. Upon further investigation he finds that like so many places, lean was "put in place" here without any consideration for or effort made toward creating a lean culture.… More »
What Experience Tells Me About How Change Happens
Dave LaHote reflects on his earliest experiences learning lean thinking and practice. "We all became increasingly better at making improvements and solving problems using simple, common sense, everyday tools," he writes. "This became the way we did work, not some extra work to do."… More »
Board Responsibilities and the Lean Management System
"A board needs to go far beyond checking performance measurements and actually hold senior leaders accountable for management systems and behaviors," writes Steve Leuschel. "As there are so many cascading actions in a lean management system, [boards cannot] check the status of each and every action line by line... This is why a one page report can help."… More »
Leader Standard Work: Where to Start
Striving to be an effective lean leader or manager is well and good, but without the discipline of leader standard work, you're not likely to achieve it. Eric Ethington breaks leader standard work down into 8 steps.… More »
Are You Managing People or Making Way for Their Creativity to Shine?
"The role of the [lean manager] entails three main parts: clear definition of goals; provision of significant and consistent feedback; and maintaining challenges," writes Boaz Tamir. And it's all about creating flow. Read why.… More »
Why Leadership and "Respect" Are Fundamentally Entwined
Hear the word "respect" and most of us can think of a time we've wanted our boss, team member, or employee to "be more respectful." But respect is about something else altogether, says Michael Ballé. For leaders, "it's about committing to an employee's success. Employees have a right to succeed WITH us, not a duty, and we need to define this success together."… More »
A Lean Management System Starts with Senior Leaders
"From events, projects, and A3s to focusing on a lean management system, we’re discovering a new way to run and lead our healthcare organizations, or any organization for that matter," writes lean healthcare coach Steven Leuschel. But where do you start? How do you get senior leaders engaged?… More »
Building Capability, Transforming Organizations
How do we improve ourselves as coaches while developing the problem solving capabilities of others? Lean coach Katie Anderson suggests using a personal improvement A3.… More »
Ask Art: What Does a Lean Manager Do Differently?
"The lean leader has a vision for growth just like the traditional manager, but he sees the source of growth quite differently," writes Art Byrne. "Growth comes from a combination of providing the customer with higher quality, shorter lead times, and better customer service."… More »
Doing Lean Versus Becoming Lean
"We know from experience that Lean is fundamentally driven by a change in company culture," writes Jim Luckman, "not a methodological 'application' of the Lean tools." Use this piece to find out if you're "doing" Lean or truly becoming lean.… More »
Too Much Information Can Destroy Effective Management
"A lean organization minimizes the amount of unnecessary 'junk' information and increases the amount of 'gold' (value-producing) information that is necessary for knowledge creation," writes Boaz Tamir.… More »
5 Skills to Strengthen Your Coaching Practice
As we look ahead to this month's coaching summit, here are 5 actions you can take now to become a better coach, change agent, and leader.… More »
Leadership Then and Now
John Shook and the Leaper look toward the future of leadership.… More »
Lean Alone is Never Enough
Lean can help any organization become more efficient and effective, but there is much more to being successful than just being lean, says Brent Wahba. "There is a core, company-specific science beyond Lean that is necessary for any business to thrive."… More »
Which Side Are You On?
"Lean is based on developing every person’s kaizen mind," writes Michael Ballé, "not asking them to thoughtlessly apply a best practice that was invented far from their real world." Read more.… More »
Focus on Process, Set Free Great Minds
"So often when we map the current state of a value stream, and its problems and pain points are revealed, something wonderful happens... We laugh! Long-held, negative assumptions explode," writes lean coach and practitioner Tim Kane. Read more about how a focus on process helps people do good work together.… More »
Managing By Not Wandering Around
“We’re still very early in our journey,” says Dan McDonnell, VP of Operational Excellence at Ingersoll Rand. “But we’re following a transformation model that lets us learn through ideation and experimentation what works and what doesn’t."… More »
Lead Lean by Being Lean
Lean just doesn't work if leaders don't actively, consistently demonstrate lean thinking themselves. In his first piece for the Post, lean coach Jim Luckman explains what "being lean" really means and looks like in practice.… More »
A Lean Transformation Model Everyone Can Use
John Shook explains LEI's Lean Transformation Model, offering 5 questions you'll want to think about and share with your team to guide your own lean transformation.… More »
Foolish Consistency or Meaningful Standard Work?
How do organizations develop system-wide standard work and also create the conditions for local problem solving within departments? Dr. Grant Greenberg of University of Michigan Faculty Group Practice reflects on the moment he found himself finally able to answer this question.… More »
How to Develop Lean Leaders and Still Get Work Done
Three years ago the leadership team at Cardinal Health asked LEI to help them create a program specifically designed to develop lean leaders within the company. Coach Eric Ethington shares a bit about how the program works.… More »
The Question All Healthcare Leaders Should be Asking Themselves
Lean healthcare expert Mark Graban takes a common problem he sees again and again in hospitals (errors with hourly rounds or inconsistent hourly rounds) and explains how this problem is a symptom of a larger systems issue.… More »
Lean Startups Should Be Lean Cultures, From the Start
Mark Graban reflects on John Shook's talk, "Lean Startup--From Toyota City to Fremont to You," at this week's Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco. Read why Graban believes the broader Lean community and lean startup community have a lot to learn from each other.… More »
One Simple Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Coaching
When you put people on the defense, you miss out on a lot more than improved performance and results. Tracey Richardson shares her insights on how to better engage your best resource--people.… More »
What's Your Lean Elevator Pitch?
How do you describe Lean to others? To beginners, your team members, your boss? What's your quick definition or elevator pitch?… More »
Ask Art: Will Lean Work for a Distributor?
Pairing distribution companies with Lean may seem counterintuitive to some. However author of The Lean Turnaround, Art Byrne, says this match actually makes perfect sense.… More »
Catchball Helps Us Get Past We Versus They
When employees dread going to work every day, your company loses. Read what Tracey Richardson has to say about boosting workplace morale.… More »
Tee Up Your Continuous Improvement
Despite achieving success across all key metrics early on in their lean journey, ProMed Molded Products still experienced a lack of unity within their organization. Check out how they used game dynamics to increase staff engagement and drive improvement.… More »
A Lean Leap of Faith
Michael Ballé reflects on a core assumption of Lean that is often disregarded and explains why it is worth taking a lean leap of faith.… More »
Standardized Vacation
Mark Donovan, co-founder of the women's knitwear company Wooden Ships, proposes that we all consider vacation as a standardized method to test and develop the capabilities of our organizations.… More »
What happens after the lean coach leaves?
Can the team you leave behind build on what you've taught them and maintain momentum? Or will they struggle and quickly revert to their previous way of doing things? Daniel T. Jones, Chairman of The Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK, shares his thoughts on how to most effectively plant the seeds of lean.… More »
Create Your Fantasy Island Organizational Culture
What would your dream organizational culture look like? What about your fantasy lean transformation? Tracey Richardson shares her advice for turning at least some of these hopes and ambitions into a reality.… More »
A Sensei in One's Own Land
In his first piece for The Lean Post, John Shook addresses the question of if, when, and how you and your organization should work with an external coach.… More »
Ask Art: Doesn't Lean Entail Headcount Reductions?
Many people think Lean is about reducing headcount. Art Byrne responds to this common misconception and explains what to do when lean improvements do free people up or jobs need to change.… More »
What do effective leaders actually do every day? GTS4
So many of us know the value of lean thinking and practice, but what do lean leaders actually do every day? Tracey Richardson offers a simple formula to help leaders and change agents stay disciplined about where they dedicate their attention, time, and energy.… More »
The Challenge in Providing Challenging Work
LEI's Mark Reich chimes in on the discussion of how to most effectively manage and coach the young generation of leaders and team members known as "millennials."… More »
Why Starting With a Model Area is Key to Lean Transformation
Lean coach Danielle Blais explains why starting small, with one team in one area, is so important to leading an effective lean transformation.… More »
Leading and Learning the Toyota Way
Lean coach and LEI faculty member, Tracey Richardson, tells us why a learner's attitude is essential for effective leadership and in creating a lean management system.… More »
lean management on Lean.org
Value-Stream Mapping in a Make-to-Order Environment
Tips from LEI author Mike Rother on applying value-stream mapping and continuous flow in high-variety, custom manufacturing environments.… More »
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
Isao Kato was in a good position to observe the early development of the Toyota Production System, the model for lean production. He developed training material at Toyota under Taiichi Ohno, regarded … More »
Donald Berwick: Curing the Healthcare System
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is a not for profit organization that is a leading figure in healthcare process improvement and innovation. This article and accompanying video interview… More »
Value-Stream Mapping
In a special article for SME's Manufacturing Enginering, Jim Womack, founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute, explains the purpose and process of  value-stream mapping with examples from… More »
Implementing Standardized Work at ThyssenKrupp in Brazil
A case study prepared by the Lean Enterprise Institute Brazil focuses on implementing standardized work at two work stations in a ThyssenKrupp, Brazil, auto parts plant. The article includes an overvi… More »
Webinar: How to Lead With Respect
How to Lead With Respect webinar featuring Michael Ballé… More »
The Nun and the Bureaucrat (Book & DVD)
The remarkable story of how healthcare professionals found a powerful but unlikely cure for what ails hospitals and healthcare is clearly and invitingly told in The Nun and the Bureaucrat/Good News…Ho… More »
Coaching for Development - Structured Coaching Using A3 Thinking
This workshop will take participants through a unique version of the A3 thinking process, modified to facilitate and foster personal development. We will also discuss key coaching and leadership skill… More »
Using Training Within Industry (TWI) Techniques for Rapid and Sustainable Problem Solving
Join us for a workshop based on scientifically-proven Training Within Industry (TWI) techniques designed to help you and your team (and the organization) learn faster.… More »
Toyota Culture
Toyota Culture examines the “human systems” that Toyota has put in place to instill its founding principles of trust, mutual prosperity, and excellence in its plants, dealerships, and offices around t… More »
Training to See Kit: A Value-Stream Mapping Workshop
The Training to See kit enables you to take people through the exercise of selecting a product family, mapping its current state to identify root causes of waste, mapping a leaner future state, and de… More »
Potent Medicine
Potent Medicine, the compelling follow-up to On the Mend, expands on the healthcare delivery redesign and focuses on all three key components in creating a value-based healthcare system in America: de… More »
Grasping the Real Situation
Emmanuel Jallas visits a well-respected company that is vocal about its lean transformation. Upon further investigation he finds that like so many places, lean was "put in place" here without any consideration for or effort made toward creating a lean culture.… More »
What Experience Tells Me About How Change Happens
Dave LaHote reflects on his earliest experiences learning lean thinking and practice. "We all became increasingly better at making improvements and solving problems using simple, common sense, everyday tools," he writes. "This became the way we did work, not some extra work to do."… More »
Board Responsibilities and the Lean Management System
"A board needs to go far beyond checking performance measurements and actually hold senior leaders accountable for management systems and behaviors," writes Steve Leuschel. "As there are so many cascading actions in a lean management system, [boards cannot] check the status of each and every action line by line... This is why a one page report can help."… More »
Leader Standard Work: Where to Start
Striving to be an effective lean leader or manager is well and good, but without the discipline of leader standard work, you're not likely to achieve it. Eric Ethington breaks leader standard work down into 8 steps.… More »
Are You Managing People or Making Way for Their Creativity to Shine?
"The role of the [lean manager] entails three main parts: clear definition of goals; provision of significant and consistent feedback; and maintaining challenges," writes Boaz Tamir. And it's all about creating flow. Read why.… More »
Why Leadership and "Respect" Are Fundamentally Entwined
Hear the word "respect" and most of us can think of a time we've wanted our boss, team member, or employee to "be more respectful." But respect is about something else altogether, says Michael Ballé. For leaders, "it's about committing to an employee's success. Employees have a right to succeed WITH us, not a duty, and we need to define this success together."… More »
A Lean Management System Starts with Senior Leaders
"From events, projects, and A3s to focusing on a lean management system, we’re discovering a new way to run and lead our healthcare organizations, or any organization for that matter," writes lean healthcare coach Steven Leuschel. But where do you start? How do you get senior leaders engaged?… More »
Building Capability, Transforming Organizations
How do we improve ourselves as coaches while developing the problem solving capabilities of others? Lean coach Katie Anderson suggests using a personal improvement A3.… More »
Ask Art: What Does a Lean Manager Do Differently?
"The lean leader has a vision for growth just like the traditional manager, but he sees the source of growth quite differently," writes Art Byrne. "Growth comes from a combination of providing the customer with higher quality, shorter lead times, and better customer service."… More »
Doing Lean Versus Becoming Lean
"We know from experience that Lean is fundamentally driven by a change in company culture," writes Jim Luckman, "not a methodological 'application' of the Lean tools." Use this piece to find out if you're "doing" Lean or truly becoming lean.… More »
Too Much Information Can Destroy Effective Management
"A lean organization minimizes the amount of unnecessary 'junk' information and increases the amount of 'gold' (value-producing) information that is necessary for knowledge creation," writes Boaz Tamir.… More »
5 Skills to Strengthen Your Coaching Practice
As we look ahead to this month's coaching summit, here are 5 actions you can take now to become a better coach, change agent, and leader.… More »
Leadership Then and Now
John Shook and the Leaper look toward the future of leadership.… More »
Lean Alone is Never Enough
Lean can help any organization become more efficient and effective, but there is much more to being successful than just being lean, says Brent Wahba. "There is a core, company-specific science beyond Lean that is necessary for any business to thrive."… More »
Which Side Are You On?
"Lean is based on developing every person’s kaizen mind," writes Michael Ballé, "not asking them to thoughtlessly apply a best practice that was invented far from their real world." Read more.… More »
Focus on Process, Set Free Great Minds
"So often when we map the current state of a value stream, and its problems and pain points are revealed, something wonderful happens... We laugh! Long-held, negative assumptions explode," writes lean coach and practitioner Tim Kane. Read more about how a focus on process helps people do good work together.… More »
Managing By Not Wandering Around
“We’re still very early in our journey,” says Dan McDonnell, VP of Operational Excellence at Ingersoll Rand. “But we’re following a transformation model that lets us learn through ideation and experimentation what works and what doesn’t."… More »
Lead Lean by Being Lean
Lean just doesn't work if leaders don't actively, consistently demonstrate lean thinking themselves. In his first piece for the Post, lean coach Jim Luckman explains what "being lean" really means and looks like in practice.… More »
A Lean Transformation Model Everyone Can Use
John Shook explains LEI's Lean Transformation Model, offering 5 questions you'll want to think about and share with your team to guide your own lean transformation.… More »
Foolish Consistency or Meaningful Standard Work?
How do organizations develop system-wide standard work and also create the conditions for local problem solving within departments? Dr. Grant Greenberg of University of Michigan Faculty Group Practice reflects on the moment he found himself finally able to answer this question.… More »
How to Develop Lean Leaders and Still Get Work Done
Three years ago the leadership team at Cardinal Health asked LEI to help them create a program specifically designed to develop lean leaders within the company. Coach Eric Ethington shares a bit about how the program works.… More »
The Question All Healthcare Leaders Should be Asking Themselves
Lean healthcare expert Mark Graban takes a common problem he sees again and again in hospitals (errors with hourly rounds or inconsistent hourly rounds) and explains how this problem is a symptom of a larger systems issue.… More »
Lean Startups Should Be Lean Cultures, From the Start
Mark Graban reflects on John Shook's talk, "Lean Startup--From Toyota City to Fremont to You," at this week's Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco. Read why Graban believes the broader Lean community and lean startup community have a lot to learn from each other.… More »
One Simple Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Coaching
When you put people on the defense, you miss out on a lot more than improved performance and results. Tracey Richardson shares her insights on how to better engage your best resource--people.… More »
What's Your Lean Elevator Pitch?
How do you describe Lean to others? To beginners, your team members, your boss? What's your quick definition or elevator pitch?… More »
Ask Art: Will Lean Work for a Distributor?
Pairing distribution companies with Lean may seem counterintuitive to some. However author of The Lean Turnaround, Art Byrne, says this match actually makes perfect sense.… More »
Catchball Helps Us Get Past We Versus They
When employees dread going to work every day, your company loses. Read what Tracey Richardson has to say about boosting workplace morale.… More »
Tee Up Your Continuous Improvement
Despite achieving success across all key metrics early on in their lean journey, ProMed Molded Products still experienced a lack of unity within their organization. Check out how they used game dynamics to increase staff engagement and drive improvement.… More »
A Lean Leap of Faith
Michael Ballé reflects on a core assumption of Lean that is often disregarded and explains why it is worth taking a lean leap of faith.… More »
Standardized Vacation
Mark Donovan, co-founder of the women's knitwear company Wooden Ships, proposes that we all consider vacation as a standardized method to test and develop the capabilities of our organizations.… More »
What happens after the lean coach leaves?
Can the team you leave behind build on what you've taught them and maintain momentum? Or will they struggle and quickly revert to their previous way of doing things? Daniel T. Jones, Chairman of The Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK, shares his thoughts on how to most effectively plant the seeds of lean.… More »
Create Your Fantasy Island Organizational Culture
What would your dream organizational culture look like? What about your fantasy lean transformation? Tracey Richardson shares her advice for turning at least some of these hopes and ambitions into a reality.… More »
A Sensei in One's Own Land
In his first piece for The Lean Post, John Shook addresses the question of if, when, and how you and your organization should work with an external coach.… More »
Ask Art: Doesn't Lean Entail Headcount Reductions?
Many people think Lean is about reducing headcount. Art Byrne responds to this common misconception and explains what to do when lean improvements do free people up or jobs need to change.… More »
What do effective leaders actually do every day? GTS4
So many of us know the value of lean thinking and practice, but what do lean leaders actually do every day? Tracey Richardson offers a simple formula to help leaders and change agents stay disciplined about where they dedicate their attention, time, and energy.… More »
The Challenge in Providing Challenging Work
LEI's Mark Reich chimes in on the discussion of how to most effectively manage and coach the young generation of leaders and team members known as "millennials."… More »
Why Starting With a Model Area is Key to Lean Transformation
Lean coach Danielle Blais explains why starting small, with one team in one area, is so important to leading an effective lean transformation.… More »
Leading and Learning the Toyota Way
Lean coach and LEI faculty member, Tracey Richardson, tells us why a learner's attitude is essential for effective leadership and in creating a lean management system.… More »
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