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Lean Transformation? Not Buying It
Companies often describe their transformation efforts in terms of an end-state: focusing on targeted results. They see transformation as a noun--a specific target or condition they wish to attain at a point in time. This paradigm prevents them from viewing transformation as a verb - a way of being they need to live every day.… More »
TPS, the Thinking People System
The twin pillars of just-in-time and jidoka help support a full model about how to achieve customer satisfaction from employee satisfaction, through teamwork and respect, on a basis of mutual trust between management and employees.… More »
How Does Asking Questions Create Change?
Lean is not a sum of processes to acquire and apply which then will make things magically work better. It’s a set of techniques to visualize delivery processes so everyone understands them at a glance, reveal problems to give opportunities for people to exercise their abilities to think, be creative and utilize their strengths to self-actualize in the course of their work.… More »
Are You Learning to Learn Faster? A Conversation with Steve Spear
Learning to close the gap in our learning cycle is critical to keeping our promises and achieving our goals, argues Steve Spear in the recent WLEI podcast. Read more here and listen to the full conversation.… More »
Sensing the Gemba
The next time you show up at the gemba to do a “go and see,” take a personal assessment of your level of focus, presence and awareness. Choose any one of your senses to focus within first, so you can be 100 percent present to deeply sense what is going on with the people and work processes of the value stream.… More »
Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs
As we grow our people we must continue to add new dimensions of thinking to engage them in their work and to empower them to always be looking for or trying new ideas, says Tracey Richardson. Building awareness of how to reduce costs forms a foundation for continued improvement.… More »
Thoughts on Coaching from John Shook and Edgar Schein
Excerpts from an in-depth conversation between John Shook and Ed Schein on the nature of coaching, humble inquiry, and the dynamics of organizational improvement through people.… More »
Try These Three Deliberate Practices of Lean Coaching
A lean coach doesn’t do PDCA; she or he has three deliberate practices that keep the PDCA gear rolling with a check, adjustment, new purpose and plan to do for kaizen experiments. A lean coach using these three deliberate practices is a perpetual motion machine of sustainable continuous improvement.… More »
JoePa and Other Biases to Avoid
A recent viewing of the biographical film Paterno led LEI Senior Coach Mark Reich to reflect on the way many of us let biases filter our view of the facts… More »
Coaching the Uncoachable Comes Down to Rock Paper and Scissors
Breaking out of a thinking cycle that is already too full to learn anything can be found in thinking about the game of rock, paper, and scissors, says lean coach Dan Prock.… More »
Mindfulness and Leading with Respect
Mindfulness is both more essential today than ever, and a foundation for organizational lean excellence. Here John Shook and Mike Orzen explore this theme. “The more lean thinking you do, the more mindfulness you’ll experience, and the more mindfulness you create, the more presence you’ll create…and the more lean thinking you’ll do.”… More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 2: Lean has its Roots in Spirituality
To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management than business or analytical perspectives, a group of lean management practitioners met with artists. Here’s what surprised them.… More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 1: A Creative Ethic
To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management principles than purely business or analytical perspectives, a group of lean management practitioners met with artists. Here’s what surprised them.… More »
Striking With The Zen Stick
A key part of lean coaching is the practice of striking with a zen stick, says Dan Prock. This helps break people out of their habits and foster mindfulness, and "kaizen mind".… More »
Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking, Part 2
Most companies don’t get the desired results from lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty member. Their people get stuck in stages 1, 2, or 3 of awareness, failing to reach level 4, "being." Learn how to go from "doing" lean to the more creative, less stressful state of "being" in the second of Mike's two posts on mindfulness.… More »
Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking
Most companies don’t get the expected results from their lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty member. The reason is that people get stuck in stages 1, 2 or 3 of awareness, failing to reach level 4, being. Learn how to move from "doing" lean to the more creative and less stressful state of "being."… More »
It's All About the Mindset on Gemba Walks
Darren Walsh believes that there are few things more critical to a successful gemba walk than the right mindset. Do you have the right one when you Go and See? Read more and find out.… More »
Lean Roundup: Pull
A pull system links all production activity to actual customer demand--and creates what one lean thinker calls "an architecture for kaizen." Read more about this key lean principle.… More »
Big Problems? Start Small
"In problem solving, we’re taught to ask a simple question, “Is this problem within my scope of control?” If yes, then we go after it. If no, then we escalate it to the next level of management. But for that to happen, I’ve learned it’s sometimes necessary to engage frontline team members in thinking about their work (steps, stuff, and time involved for transformation per a customer need) first."… More »
Accountability: Not What You Think it is...
"When managers and associates hear the term [accountability], they often flinch!" writes Mike Orzen. "This is a major problem for any organization that is serious about creating and sustaining a lean transformation." Read more to hear Mike's tips for tackling the stigma around this key aspect of leadership.… 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 »
Tough Empathy
"When grasping the situation we always focus in on the process... What about grasping the situation as it relates to the people?" writes Eric Ethington. "I’m talking about truly 'engaging the stakeholders' to the point where they WANT to be part of the improvement process."… More »
6 Ways to Lay the Groundwork for More Effective Meetings
"Even in organizations working hard in pursuit of lean production systems [and] employee capability development – the failure to host effective meetings is all too common," writes Thomas Stratton. "It’s a drag on productivity and a key source of frustration." Read more.… 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 »
Gather the Facts: How Does Your Organization View Lean?
It’s worth asking, what's your organization's REAL, honest perception of Lean? Do you hear words and phrases like engagement, problem solving, learning, "making my job better than now", and "empowered to bring forth ideas"? If not, Eric Ethington has some good advice on how to you may want to proceed.… More »
How To Get Out of the Habit of Telling
How do we get out of the habit of just “fixing” the immediate problem at hand ourselves (or telling others how we think they should do something), and replace it with the habit of developing others to solve a problem? Lean coach Katie Anderson weighs in.… 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 »
The Biggest Waste of All
"We can fix [problem symptoms] with basic lean thinking and tools, but unless our strategy is good, we will still create tremendous amounts of waste for our customers, employees, suppliers, and investors," says Brent Wahba. Why? "Because everyone is running faster and faster… in the wrong direction."… More »
PDCA is the Breath of Lean
"PDCA is to Lean what breathing is to human beings," writes Mark Donovan. This is why it's important to practice PDCA continuously. So why is it so hard for some of us and how do we help instill PDCA thinking in our organizations? Read more.… More »
Lean on Steroids: Why We Should Rely On Physical Measures, Not Financial Ones
"Lean has led me to question core business models, period," writes Doc Hall. "But while Lean focuses on improving a company’s existing business model... I’m interested in how a company can help communities of people, in all their messiness, live better while using much less."… More »
Communicating With Respect
Effective communication is key when it comes to lean learning. Give people too much information, too soon and you lose them, Alice Lee says. Give them too little, too late and they'll get bored. In both cases, you run the risk of people not feeling respected by you. Read what Lee suggests doing instead.… 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 »
Test Your PDCA Thinking By Reading Your A3 Backwards
Pretty sure you've got a good A3, but want to test the logic of your thinking? Want some help coaching another person through their A3 thinking? Tracey Richardon shares her wisdom.… More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone." Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place.… More »
Book Value: The Mental ABC's of Pitching
It's time for a little lean baseball! Inspired by the Red Sox World Series win, John Shook decided to return to one of his favorite reads, The Mental ABC's of Pitching by H.A. Dorfman.… More »
Clear Mind, Better Work
Like lean, mindfulness meditation is all about practice and discipline. Mark Donovan, owner of the knitwear company Wooden Ships, reflects on how a ten day silent meditation retreat has changed his approach to work and strengthened his lean efforts.… More »
mindfulness on Lean.org
Big Problems? Start Small
"In problem solving, we’re taught to ask a simple question, “Is this problem within my scope of control?” If yes, then we go after it. If no, then we escalate it to the next level of management. But for that to happen, I’ve learned it’s sometimes necessary to engage frontline team members in thinking about their work (steps, stuff, and time involved for transformation per a customer need) first."… More »
Accountability: Not What You Think it is...
"When managers and associates hear the term [accountability], they often flinch!" writes Mike Orzen. "This is a major problem for any organization that is serious about creating and sustaining a lean transformation." Read more to hear Mike's tips for tackling the stigma around this key aspect of leadership.… 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 »
Tough Empathy
"When grasping the situation we always focus in on the process... What about grasping the situation as it relates to the people?" writes Eric Ethington. "I’m talking about truly 'engaging the stakeholders' to the point where they WANT to be part of the improvement process."… More »
6 Ways to Lay the Groundwork for More Effective Meetings
"Even in organizations working hard in pursuit of lean production systems [and] employee capability development – the failure to host effective meetings is all too common," writes Thomas Stratton. "It’s a drag on productivity and a key source of frustration." Read more.… 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 »
Gather the Facts: How Does Your Organization View Lean?
It’s worth asking, what's your organization's REAL, honest perception of Lean? Do you hear words and phrases like engagement, problem solving, learning, "making my job better than now", and "empowered to bring forth ideas"? If not, Eric Ethington has some good advice on how to you may want to proceed.… More »
How To Get Out of the Habit of Telling
How do we get out of the habit of just “fixing” the immediate problem at hand ourselves (or telling others how we think they should do something), and replace it with the habit of developing others to solve a problem? Lean coach Katie Anderson weighs in.… 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 »
The Biggest Waste of All
"We can fix [problem symptoms] with basic lean thinking and tools, but unless our strategy is good, we will still create tremendous amounts of waste for our customers, employees, suppliers, and investors," says Brent Wahba. Why? "Because everyone is running faster and faster… in the wrong direction."… More »
PDCA is the Breath of Lean
"PDCA is to Lean what breathing is to human beings," writes Mark Donovan. This is why it's important to practice PDCA continuously. So why is it so hard for some of us and how do we help instill PDCA thinking in our organizations? Read more.… More »
Lean on Steroids: Why We Should Rely On Physical Measures, Not Financial Ones
"Lean has led me to question core business models, period," writes Doc Hall. "But while Lean focuses on improving a company’s existing business model... I’m interested in how a company can help communities of people, in all their messiness, live better while using much less."… More »
Communicating With Respect
Effective communication is key when it comes to lean learning. Give people too much information, too soon and you lose them, Alice Lee says. Give them too little, too late and they'll get bored. In both cases, you run the risk of people not feeling respected by you. Read what Lee suggests doing instead.… 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 »
Test Your PDCA Thinking By Reading Your A3 Backwards
Pretty sure you've got a good A3, but want to test the logic of your thinking? Want some help coaching another person through their A3 thinking? Tracey Richardon shares her wisdom.… More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone." Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place.… More »
Book Value: The Mental ABC's of Pitching
It's time for a little lean baseball! Inspired by the Red Sox World Series win, John Shook decided to return to one of his favorite reads, The Mental ABC's of Pitching by H.A. Dorfman.… More »
Clear Mind, Better Work
Like lean, mindfulness meditation is all about practice and discipline. Mark Donovan, owner of the knitwear company Wooden Ships, reflects on how a ten day silent meditation retreat has changed his approach to work and strengthened his lean efforts.… More »
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