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Believe in One Thing All the Way
Who is a “superhero” in our companies, asks Darril Wilburn in this inspiring piece: Is it the person that can outperform nine others by three times? Or is it the person that can improve a process by 10% and then share that improvement with the 9 other people, and then do it again and again?… More »
Reflections From Ten Years of Michael Ballé's Gemba Coach
Since his first Gemba Coach column of ten years ago, Michael Balle has consistently tied his advice to a faithful application of core Toyota Production System (TPS) principles, without demanding a mindless conformity to established practices or to commercialized frameworks, models, or any other packaging of the TPS dynamics as a product.… More »
How Are You Supporting Your Own Lean Transformation?
When someone in our organization complains about something we hand them a Kaizen card, shares Lisa Yerian of the Cleveland Clinic. Perhaps the same approach could apply to the broader challenge of improving the organizational ability to frame problems productively?… More »
Talking About Lean: How Leaders Support Improvement With Words and Actions
In this comprehensive series of reflections, Lean Coach David Verble examines how the way managers and leaders talk to employees (and to each other) can contribute or be a barrier to, creating and sustaining a culture of engagement and continuous improvement. He explores healthy ways that managers can mindfully observe and improve how they lead employees.… More »
What Do Sensei Actually Do?
What do lean sensei do? Take you to the gemba, discuss what the real challenges are, prescribe exercises, teach PDCA, and push you to the next step, argue the authors of the new book The Lean Sensei.… More »
Practicing Constructive Discontent At SBP
To become an organization of problem solvers, talking about problems couldn’t merely be something that we did, shares Zack Rosenburg of St. Bernard Project. It had to be part of who we are; it had to be our identity. Being or living constructive discontent and adopting it as our identity would mean that problems were brought to the surface, not buried.… More »
Show Respect, Psychological Safety, and Social Neuroscience
Mike Orzen and David Verble examine the meaning and lean relevance of showing respect, creating psychological safety, and the links between these two.… More »
How Purpose Shapes Culture
A purpose-driven culture is hard to build, says CEO Rich Sheridan of Menlo Innovations. It takes time. You will suffer setbacks, you will be mocked until everyone says what you do is just obvious, and some people will expect immediate results while you are rebuilding the airplane you’re flying in. Remember that you’re doing it for the right reasons. And it will result in joy.… More »
Showing Respect: Here's How Emmanuel Proposed A More Reliable Shipping Rack
As I reflect on Emmanuel's proposed countermeasures to a key problem, I am encouraged with every new discovery, says General Manager Joel Daly of Veada. I need to get past the gulping and dread associated with someone responsibly reporting a problem to me, and instead embrace the opportunity therein.… More »
Is Your Strategy a Plan--or a Hypothesis?
Success in a VUCA world requires senior executives to engage thoughtfully and frequently with company operations across all levels and departments, argues HBS Professor Amy Edmondson. The people on the front line who create and deliver products and services are privy to the most important strategic data the company has available.… More »
Going Beyond Low-Cost Obsession with "Women Go Beyond"
Hear the chairman and co-founder of an apparel manufacturer with global operations explain how and why it invests in its largely female workforce while also dealing with the challenges of a highly competitive industry obsessed with low-cost operations.… More »
The Road to Becoming a Lean Leadership Team Has Potholes
Lean veteran Orry Fiume shares the story how the leadership team at The Wiremold Company took on the challenging work of transitioning from being traditional, functional, independent executives to becoming a Lean leadership team.… More »
Building a Lean Culture at Turner Construction: A Talk with SVP Charlie Murphy
"Whether it’s safety, quality, production system, to me it just makes sense for us to contribute to the improvement of the whole industry," says Turner Construction SVP Charlie Murphy. "If we can develop a lean culture here at Turner and move from workarounds to resolving the right problems as they occur, we will become a better company and the industry will have to get better, too."… More »
Cultivating Intuition at the Gemba
Our trainers conditioned us to water the seed of experience and use it not just to fire-fight but rather be more predictive and value add with our time and how we taught others. We encourage each person to learn to trust their intuition enough to see through the process each day to ensure the purpose and accountability for standards and why we have them is known and bought into, not just a suggestion to do.… More »
"What Did I Transform Today?"
A lean approach to coaching is incomplete if nothing has changed for the better, says Josh Howell, who shares how he learned that it is not enough to only think, talk, write, and draw. Best to conclude each day by asking yourself, "What did I transform today?"… More »
Workers Unite for Better
The local strike by hospitality workers in Boston has led Josh Howell to contrast this situation with the lean culture at Dreamplace Hotels and Resorts in Tenerife, where front-line workers produce and socialize beautifully messy A3-sized papers sharing ideas for improvements.… More »
Can Lean Know-How Come Home?
When you decide to stop making things, you lose the ability to make things, argues Eric Buehrens: not just the displaced assembly workers who have had to seek employment elsewhere, but the design, production control, maintenance and quality engineers, the materials and logistics experts, all the technical know-how to manufacture effectively at scale, at world-class quality, and competitive cost.… More »
Getting Out of the Habit of Telling
In this engaging talk at the Lean Transformation Summit in Nashville, Katie Anderson talked about learning how to keep from telling others what to do.… 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 »
Practical Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System
Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap pods, rock walls, and free food. Suggestions systems get overlooked. That’s too bad because the whole point of a system done correctly is higher engagement. Here are some real-world tips on starting and sustaining a system from an experienced lean practitioner.… 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 »
Why 'Yes Chef!' Is No Longer the Answer
In order to meet the changing demands of today's restaurants, chefs must learn to evolve from old-school methods of the "brigade system" and learn to be more mindful, holistic, and ask better questions, say Legal Sea Foods Executive Chef Rich Vellante… More »
Lean Roundup: Respect for People
Respect for People is one of the most abstract and yet most concrete tenets of lean, a guiding principle that informs how people work, coach, and lead. This roundup of writings reveals a wealth of perspectives on how lean thinkers convert this ideal into tangible ways of thinking and acting.… More »
Finding a Lean Cure that Respects the Health of Healthcare Workers
In his prognosis of the health care system, LEI CEO Eric Buehrens says we need to improve the work to remove waste and create value; and be advocates for enough “social heijunka” to ensure that resources going to that sector don’t impoverish frontline workers across our society.… More »
Ask Art: Am I Showing Respect for People by Asking for Fast Action?
Lean is a “learn by doing” exercise not a classroom training approach. The best method I know to achieve this is through a sustained high level of kaizen activity. You are trying to create a learning environment where everyone is constantly learning and contributing to the organization. Every time an improvement is made, learning occurs. The faster you go the more learning can occur.… More »
Respect the Customer By Respecting Your Worker
Lean provides us with a different approach to this vicious cycle. Build a management system in your company that allows employees to make the best decisions for the customer (end user and next process). This shows respect for your people.… 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 »
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 »
5S - The Way to Start Your Lean Journey…or Is It?
Many people think that a 5S implementation is the perfect way to kickstart a full lean transformation. It can be - IF you do it right. Years ago Dale Savage witnessed a lean disaster at his company that all started with a new 5S program. Find out what happened and how you can keep it from happening to your company.… 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 »
How Do You Know If You’ve Created a Meaningful Challenge?
"Have you ever issued what you thought was an inspiring challenge for your team, only to discover they were underwhelmed and far from motivated?" asks Mike Orzen. If so, you may have missed one of the core practices of leading with respect - creating a meaningful challenge. Read more.… More »
I'm Michael Ballé, Ask Me Anything
Ask author and lean coach Michael Ballé anything you wish on lean thinking and practice! He'll be here all day answering YOUR questions!… More »
Put Your People at The Center of Your Development System
"It is your people that provide the skills, energy and creativity," writes Jim Morgan. "They are the single most important element of great product development systems. They drive the system." Read more.… More »
Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2015!
With 2016 fast approaching, we'd like to take a step back and reflect on the most popular Lean Post articles of 2015. Did your favorite(s) make the list?… 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 »
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 »
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 »
Show Up On Time (And Other Instructions from a Cook)
Lean practitioner Matt LeVeque reflects on the concepts of 5S, (JIT) Just-in-Time, and "respect for people" throughout history.… More »
How Lean Tools Support the Principle of Respect (Part 2)
We first met Andy Ward when he was struggling to save his plant from closure in <em>The Lean Manager</em>. Since then he's helped lead a lean transformation; and recently, in <em>Lead With Respect</em>, play sensei to Southcape Software CEO Jane Delaney as she aims to transform her people through the use of lean methods and practice. In this interview Ward shares what he has learned.… More »
How Lean Tools Support the Principle of Respect (Part 1)
We first met Andy Ward when he was struggling to save his plant from closure in <em>The Lean Manager</em>. Since then he's helped lead a lean transformation; and recently, in <em>Lead With Respect</em>, play sensei to Southcape Software CEO Jane Delaney as she aims to transform her people through the use of lean methods and practice. In this interview Ward shares what he has learned.… More »
I'm Michael Ballé, Ask Me Anything
Reddit has mastered the AMA (Ask Me Anything) style post, giving readers a direct line of communication with leading thinkers, artists, and comedians. Here's your chance to ask Michael Ballé, co-author of Lead With Respect, anything about his new book, lean thinking and practice, and the future of management in the 21st century.… More »
Still Faithful to Lean Thinking
"We wrote Lead With Respect to show just how central engagement and involvement is to lean success," says Michael Ballé. "As a sociologist, 'making people to make products' is what grabbed me as I first studied how Toyota led improvement." Learn more about what drove Ballé, co-author of Lead With Respect, to share this particular story.… More »
The Human Element of TWI (Training Within Industry)
"When I’ve taught the TWI courses in countries all over the world, from India to Malaysia to Mexico to Germany, everyone understands and embraces these concepts because the focus on humanity is universal," writes Patrick Graupp. "These concepts transcend differences in culture and economic barriers."… More »
respect on Lean.org
Key Concepts of Lean in Healthcare
This two-day workshop, incorporating examples from many healthcare settings, is designed to gain a better understanding of the components and underlying philosophy of lean, and how the elements and ph… More »
Online Webcast Key Concepts of Lean in Healthcare
This webcast is designed for individuals and teams working in Healthcare who want to gain a better understanding of the principles, tools, and underlying philosophy of the lean management system.… More »
On the Mend
Using the improvement model popularized by the Toyota Production System, ThedaCare arrived at lean healthcare and three organizing principles – focus on patients, value, and time – that are built upon… More »
On the Mend (eBook)
Using the improvement model popularized by the Toyota Production System, ThedaCare arrived at lean healthcare and three organizing principles – focus on patients, value, and time – that are built upon… More »
The Gold Mine Trilogy Study Guide
A way for teams to improve their lean practice together through reflection on the Ballé novel trilogy: The Gold Mine, The Lean Manager, Lead With Respect… More »
Ask Art: Am I Showing Respect for People by Asking for Fast Action?
Lean is a “learn by doing” exercise not a classroom training approach. The best method I know to achieve this is through a sustained high level of kaizen activity. You are trying to create a learning environment where everyone is constantly learning and contributing to the organization. Every time an improvement is made, learning occurs. The faster you go the more learning can occur.… More »
Respect the Customer By Respecting Your Worker
Lean provides us with a different approach to this vicious cycle. Build a management system in your company that allows employees to make the best decisions for the customer (end user and next process). This shows respect for your people.… 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 »
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 »
5S - The Way to Start Your Lean Journey…or Is It?
Many people think that a 5S implementation is the perfect way to kickstart a full lean transformation. It can be - IF you do it right. Years ago Dale Savage witnessed a lean disaster at his company that all started with a new 5S program. Find out what happened and how you can keep it from happening to your company.… 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 »
How Do You Know If You’ve Created a Meaningful Challenge?
"Have you ever issued what you thought was an inspiring challenge for your team, only to discover they were underwhelmed and far from motivated?" asks Mike Orzen. If so, you may have missed one of the core practices of leading with respect - creating a meaningful challenge. Read more.… More »
I'm Michael Ballé, Ask Me Anything
Ask author and lean coach Michael Ballé anything you wish on lean thinking and practice! He'll be here all day answering YOUR questions!… More »
Put Your People at The Center of Your Development System
"It is your people that provide the skills, energy and creativity," writes Jim Morgan. "They are the single most important element of great product development systems. They drive the system." Read more.… More »
Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2015!
With 2016 fast approaching, we'd like to take a step back and reflect on the most popular Lean Post articles of 2015. Did your favorite(s) make the list?… 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 »
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 »
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 »
Show Up On Time (And Other Instructions from a Cook)
Lean practitioner Matt LeVeque reflects on the concepts of 5S, (JIT) Just-in-Time, and "respect for people" throughout history.… More »
How Lean Tools Support the Principle of Respect (Part 2)
We first met Andy Ward when he was struggling to save his plant from closure in <em>The Lean Manager</em>. Since then he's helped lead a lean transformation; and recently, in <em>Lead With Respect</em>, play sensei to Southcape Software CEO Jane Delaney as she aims to transform her people through the use of lean methods and practice. In this interview Ward shares what he has learned.… More »
How Lean Tools Support the Principle of Respect (Part 1)
We first met Andy Ward when he was struggling to save his plant from closure in <em>The Lean Manager</em>. Since then he's helped lead a lean transformation; and recently, in <em>Lead With Respect</em>, play sensei to Southcape Software CEO Jane Delaney as she aims to transform her people through the use of lean methods and practice. In this interview Ward shares what he has learned.… More »
I'm Michael Ballé, Ask Me Anything
Reddit has mastered the AMA (Ask Me Anything) style post, giving readers a direct line of communication with leading thinkers, artists, and comedians. Here's your chance to ask Michael Ballé, co-author of Lead With Respect, anything about his new book, lean thinking and practice, and the future of management in the 21st century.… More »
Still Faithful to Lean Thinking
"We wrote Lead With Respect to show just how central engagement and involvement is to lean success," says Michael Ballé. "As a sociologist, 'making people to make products' is what grabbed me as I first studied how Toyota led improvement." Learn more about what drove Ballé, co-author of Lead With Respect, to share this particular story.… More »
The Human Element of TWI (Training Within Industry)
"When I’ve taught the TWI courses in countries all over the world, from India to Malaysia to Mexico to Germany, everyone understands and embraces these concepts because the focus on humanity is universal," writes Patrick Graupp. "These concepts transcend differences in culture and economic barriers."… More »
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