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By: Jean Cunningham | December 24, 2019
Columns; eLetters
I hope 2019 has been a wonderful year for you. I am very thankful for good health, family, friends, and—not to be overlooked—that I was appointed LEI’s Chairman this year. Through my LEI role I’ve been able to meet so many new and wonderful people in the lean community this year which has been exciting and enlightening. So many people striving to learn and practice lean. I see so much opportunity for us collectively to continue growing as a lean community. It is also terrific to be able to reflect on and enjoy the progress that has been made so More »
Reflections from LEI’s New President, Josh Howell
By: Josh Howell | June 3, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Josh Howell, an experienced manager and lean management coach, is LEI’s new president and executive team leader. Read his note to the lean community and share your thoughts. More »
Reflections on the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit
By: Cameron Ford | March 16, 2017
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 »
A Reflection on Competition
By: Lynn Kelley | February 22, 2018
A meta-analysis of research shows that among the three main ways of achieving business goals, collaboration beats competition and individualism a little more than 50% of the time. Lynn Kelley, PhD, and a continuous improvement VP, discusses the research on achieving goals and personal career reflections about intense competition with co-workers. More »
Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection Part 2: Forcing Managers and Execs to Reflect
By: David Verble | February 1, 2018
Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are programmed by nature to skip the most important part of the PDCA method– reflection. It’s so important that you have to “force” people to reflect, according to David Verble, who learned to coach as a Toyota HR manager. In this two-part story, he shows you want to do and what to say to force reflection. More »
Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection, Part 1
By: David Verble | January 30, 2018
Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are programmed by nature to skip the most important part of the PDCA method– reflection. It’s so important that you have to “force” people to reflect, according to David Verble, who learned to coach as a Toyota HR manager. In this two-part story, he shows you want to do and what to say to force reflection. More »
Facilitating Reflection for Learning and Improvement
This program will explore the nature and importance of reflection and give you opportunities to learn and practice the basic skills for leading the process of reflection. As with the other programs in the Skills for Coaching to Develop sequence, the focus will be on using humble inquiry questioning to facilitate others in reflecting. More »
WLEI: 32. Coachable: A Model Story, Coaching Work Improvement
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | January 27, 2020
As this series continues to explore the implications and dynamic of “coaching” in a business environment, Bryant Sanders models the mindset and techniques for coaching work improvement to develop people. Bryant draws on 26 years Toyota experience to facilitate his coaching techniques with a team in the field leading to a dramatic improvement in the work. He walks us through the story from deciding where to focus, to earning the team’s trust, facilitating reflection solidifying the what and the why and then leveraging one another’s strengths to upskill the team and eliminate difficulty and waste in the work. An excellent More »
WLEI: 30. On the Job: My Personal Turning Point--Reflecting on a Decade as a Lean Coach
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | January 14, 2020
Josh Howell shares his decade-end reflections, focusing on why he left Starbucks in 2013. His reasons may surprise you. He also interrogates the question, “If a company discontinues a formal lean initiative, or lean program, or lean team, does that mean its lean implementation has failed?” Related Articles:Josh's Eletter: My Personal Turning Point: Reflecting on a Decade as a Lean Coach"What Did I Transform Today?"Lean Coaching SummitVideo: Inside the Tryer Center, the Starbucks Lab Where Anything is Possible  More »
How We Improved Our Tiered Daily Huddles
By: Nathan Hurle | November 8, 2019
At Cleveland Clinic, where he leads a continuous improvement team, Nate Hurle and others have discovered ways to build on success with their tiered daily huddles. More »
The Power of Ma in Creating Cognitive Space
By: Jim Benson | August 14, 2019
When we lead with respect for people, we need to truly understand that people work in different ways, argues Jim Benson in this piece about the power of More »
A Matchless Learning Opportunity for Executives and Leaders
July 31, 2019
Spend 5 intense days observing and learning from operations at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Toyota supplier Summit Polymers, and GE Appliances at our Kentucky Lean Leadership Tour. Shop-floor walks are followed by facilitated reflection and roundtable discussions, led by this outstanding team of experienced coaches. More »
Talking About Lean: How Leaders Support Improvement With Words and Actions
By: David Verble | June 20, 2019
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 »
Questions and Coaching on A3 Thinking
By: Deborah McGee | June 19, 2019
In this Q&A, LEI's Deborah McGee shares insights into A3 thinking and problem-solving: "The A3 Management process is really a way of thinking and a method of working with (using) problems as a vehicle for learning. The A3 process leads us to gain alignment across our teams and organization. It is a method through which we can coach and mentor others, leading by example and earning the authority to lead change, even when or if we’re not in a role with positional power.  " More »
How SBP Went From Intolerable Conditions to Constructive Discontent
By: Zack Rosenburg | June 14, 2019
In this keynote talk at the LEI summit, Zack Rosenburg of SBP talks about how this non-profit has evolved its thinking about defining and tackling problems, creating a culture of continuous improvement that views management as a noble profession. More »
Try These Lean Summer Reads
By: Lean Leaper | May 29, 2019
Summer is upon us and as you lean learners prepare for some decidedly non-value added time in your schedule, consider any number of these books for your summer reading. More »
Sometimes Less Lean is Mo' Lean
By: Brent Wahba | May 6, 2019
After seeing a great concert by blues legend Keb' Mo', Brent Wahba reflected on some lean principles embodied in the ways this event delivered such joy. More »
A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results
By: Jean Cunningham | February 15, 2019
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, absorption of new info happens, and a good deal can be accomplished. We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe. More »
Flaatnes Elektro-Mek Reveals How Double Loop Learning Supports Lean Thinking and Practice
By: Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke | February 11, 2019
Every experience is a learning experience. However, we tend to only experience single-loop learning where we reaffirm what we already think is true. Lean gives us a framework to challenge our beliefs and assumptions and create double-loop learning situations through concrete experiments, and often real-time feedback from the real world. More »
Is Lean Thinking Art or Science? Yes
By: John Y. Shook | January 31, 2019
Calling the recent book Lean Conversations a landmark initiative on lean and the arts, John Shook observes that "If Jean Cocteau’s famous observation that 'art is science made clear' has meaning, we can all benefit from further exploration of the relationship between lean thinking and art & science.  " More »
Lean Gratitude
By: Thomas Richert | November 21, 2018
As Thanksgiving approaches, Tom Richert notes that powering the TPS scientific mindset is a great deal of emotional energy. At this time of year, he reminds us of Sakichi Toyoda's precept: Be reverent, and show gratitude for things great and small in thought and deed. More »
I Got 99 Problems and This Is How I'll Tackle Type One
By: Lory Moniz | November 5, 2018
After an unintentional sending a mass email with an error from LEI, Lory Moniz reflects on the source of the defect and commits to a way of preventing this from recurring; and commits to applying the subject of the letter (ways of tackling problems) to the approach by her team. More »
Lesson From Japan: Day Five
By: Lean Leaper | June 29, 2018
On this final set of shared lessons from Japan, our lean learners reflect on the spirit of kaizen and the notion of employees as assets. They learn more about why "To Toyota, kaizen is the same as breathing.  " More »
Lessons From Japan: Day Three
By: Lean Leaper | June 27, 2018
Is Toyota improving productivity or developing people? What we saw today suggests not just that the answer is both but that the two are inseparable, especially when it comes to jishuken. More »
Lean Lessons from Japan: Day One
By: Lean Leaper | June 25, 2018
This week, LEI is in Japan with 19 eager learners. The purpose of this trip is not just to see Just-In-Time. The purpose is to understand the social and technical context that gave birth to and continues to develop lean. Please visit the Post for a daily selection of postcards that share what we are learning. More »
Coaching the Uncoachable Comes Down to Rock Paper and Scissors
By: Dan Prock | May 29, 2018
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 »
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 »
Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking
By: Mike Orzen | January 16, 2018
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 »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make II
By: Ken Eakin, Mark Hamel and Adam Hillsamer | June 13, 2017
Everybody makes mistakes, lean leaders included. Our previous list of mistakes made by lean leaders was the highest-performing installment in the Advice from the Gemba series - we now follow it up with a sequel. More »
Faster than a Speeding Kanban...
By: Brent Wahba | April 12, 2017
"All of us living in Leanworld are well-trained to look for problems, identify gaps, and cure root causes," writes Brent Wahba. But if that's true, why does lean so often fail? Could it be that we often undermine our efforts by trying to be superheroes, trying to fix all our problems in one go? Brent explores. More »
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