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Ask Art: What Do You Look At in a "Pre-lean" Company?
By: Art Byrne | June 23, 2021
Art Byrne identifies factors such as excess inventory and floor space, long turnaround times, and numerous other elements to study when considering the long-term value of "pre-lean" companies. More »
Diving Deep to Discover the Value of Lean Companies with Cliff Ransom
By: Lean Leaper | April 26, 2021
Analyzing companies from a lean perspective can deliver some incredible insight. Just ask Cliff Ransom, whose insights on the value of lean companies are chronicled in this episode of the WLEI Podcast. More »
Ask Art: How Can I Ensure the Participation of Top Management?
By: Art Byrne | April 13, 2021
Always keep in mind that to be successful with lean, senior management must drive the change, says lean veteran Art Byrne. He shares evidence of how this evidence has helped him lead numerous lean turnarounds. More »
A Variety of Perspectives is Good for your Products
By: Kevin Nolan | February 15, 2021
Why your team's diversity of thought improves your product development process. More »
Ask Art: Why Are Leaps of Faith Involved in a Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | January 20, 2021
Leaps of faith are not incidental associations with a lean turnaround; they are a basic requirement, argues lean veteran Art Byrne. More »
The Power of Yokoten
September 22, 2020
Columns; eLetters
I’ve written a lot about yokoten in recent years – the practice of spreading good (lean) ideas horizontally between and across organizations from their point of initial success (“Yoko” means in Japanese horizontal.  ) It turns out that this is hard, even for the methods and tools needed to create lean value streams. Lean requires practice, even when the theory is clear and simple, and it’s hard to find enough teachers with enough experience and time to lead the cycles of practice needed for sustainable yokoten. More »
Active Caring
By: Jim Benson | April 13, 2020
Caring about others, caring about quality, caring about professionalism. When you care, continuous improvement and action come naturally. Turner Construction CEO Peter Davoren says that he would like Turner people to exhibit "active caring". This may sound vague, but it is actionable. In this article Jim Benson details this approach. More »
What should I expect as a lean manager?
By: Michael Ballé | March 16, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m currently a team leader, and I’ve been offered a job as a lean manager – what should I expect? More »
A Consciousness of Reality
By: John Y. Shook | March 6, 2020
There are countless cases of lean thinking being applied masterfully with the word lean (or the Toyota Production System) nowhere in sight, writes John Shook, who argues that lean thinking and practice can embody the power and potential of lean thinking as a holistic approach to making things better for even the world’s thorniest problems. More »
Should I be worried that management is buying software for virtual gemba walks?
By: Michael Ballé | March 2, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: A consultant is selling us “virtual gemba walks” software to schedule gemba visits with a “leader standardized work” checklist and key indicators tracking. Management is listening. It feels wrong somehow, but anything that gets management to pay attention is a good thing, right? More »
Ask Art: What Happens When Standard Cost Accounting Meets Takt Time?
By: Art Byrne | January 22, 2020
Trying to become a lean enterprise while retaining traditional standard cost accounting is an exercise in futility. It was developed for a steady state environment and is obsolete once a company changes to a lean “continuous improvement” strategy, says Art Byrne. It is therefore important to understand that one of the first things you need to do in your lean turnaround is to replace your standard cost approach with lean or “plain English”accounting. More »
Are morning team huddles that go on forever a waste of time?
By: Michael Ballé | January 20, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Our company has made morning team huddles mandatory. I don't see how that helps. On my team, huddles seem to go on forever and feel like a waste of time. Are they? More »
By: Orry (Orest) Fiume | December 31, 2019
“Lean Accounting” has been around for about 30 years, yet its adoption has not been widespread. Is that true? More »
I’ve been improving process efficiency for years with value-stream mapping, why did you write that it is misleading?
By: Michael Ballé | November 18, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: In your previous column you stated that value-stream mapping can be misleading. I’ve been using VSM for years to improve process efficiency – what can be wrong with that? More »
Frame the Work For Safety and Learning
By: Amy C. Edmondson | November 15, 2019
The most important skill to master as a leader is that of framing the work, says Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson. Frames consist of assumptions or beliefs that we layer onto reality. All of us frame objects and situations automatically. Great leaders understand this and manage frames intentionally. More »
The Power of Inspiration
By: Paige Henry | October 23, 2019
Lean thinker Paige Henry shares a call to action: let’s get our leaders and people to realize “it’s about the think” to prevent problems happening in the first place, and when they do, that we need to enable them to think of multiple countermeasures rather than going with the solution that “they’ve seen/used a million times before.  ” More »
Where can I find information about visual management?
By: Michael Ballé | October 21, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I can’t find much written about visual management although it seems an important part of lean – any idea where to look? More »
Is my crazy new boss right that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean?
By: Michael Ballé | October 7, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: My new boss is a lean fanatic crazy about standards. He’s created a new team to audit standards and is telling us that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean. It’s creating a lot of resistance, and I don’t know what to make of it. More »
I'm Josh Howell, Ask Me Anything
By: Josh Howell | September 6, 2019
Since becoming LEI’s president a few months ago, Josh Howell has made it a priority to talk with you and visit your workplaces as much as possible. Please join in an Ask-Me-Anything conversation with Josh by sharing questions you have about the lean movement and the business struggles and problems you face. More »
Should I bother reading lean management books or rely on experience implementing lean?
By: Michael Ballé | June 24, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Should I bother with reading lean books, or just work from experience? There are so many, and they seem to contradict each other. Which ones should I start with? More »
How do I implement 5S when operators think everyone does things a little differently?
By: Michael Ballé | June 17, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I implement 5S  in our small but growing shop where operators have the belief that everyone does things a little differently? More »
Ask Art: What Incentives and Bonus Programs Best Support Lean?
By: Art Byrne | May 8, 2019
Bonus and incentive plans work best when they serve an underlying purpose, says Art Byrne, who advises that management design them to boost teamwork, learning, and strategic lean goals. More »
Show Respect, Psychological Safety, and Social Neuroscience
By: Mike Orzen and David Verble | April 26, 2019
Mike Orzen and David Verble examine the meaning and lean relevance of showing respect, creating psychological safety, and the links between these two. More »
Why We Believe that Lean is About Changing Our Own Behaviors, and Not Just Accumulating New Knowledge
By: Lean Sensei Women | February 22, 2019
Lean repeatedly pushes us to develop new competences (or recover lost know-hows) through kaizen and problem solving. This collection of short articles from seven leading lean sensei women from around the world expand on this topic, arguing that Lean requires a major shift in our behaviors. More »
Did Red Sox Lean on Lean for World Series Victory?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | October 30, 2018
For starters (and for that matter, for relievers), this World-Series-winning Red Sox team was simply an outstanding and absurdly talented team from top to bottom. And yet talent only gets you so far. Great teams make one another better, and I think this applied to this group of athletes whose success underscore a few simple Lean principles More »
Does it matter if we call lean "lean"?
By: Michael Balle' | September 17, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: If it works, why worry if it’s called lean, operational excellence, or the company’s excellence system? As long as we get results, what does it matter? More »
Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | July 12, 2018
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 »
JoePa and Other Biases to Avoid
By: Mark Reich | June 5, 2018
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 »
Can I change a company's attitude that people can't be trusted to do their jobs unless they are scared into complying?
By: Michael Ballé | June 4, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: A major assumption in lean thinking is that people genuinely want to do a good job, and the only thing standing in their way is a poor system. But some organizations act on the assumption that you can’t really trust anyone to do their job unless they are constantly controlled and scared into complying. It’s hard for me to see how lean can help any org without changing this assumption first … or? More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean, Part 3: Lean is a Practice in Search of a Language
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | May 18, 2018
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 »
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