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Reflections
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
Columns
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 »
Jim Womack Shares a Future-Focused Reflection on 'Machine'
By: Roberto Priolo | September 3, 2020
Columns
Jim Womack shares a future-focused, humble reflection of the groundbreaking book he co-authored with Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos, The Machine that Changed the World, during its 30 Anniversary. More »
A Reflection on Competition
By: Lynn Kelley | February 22, 2018
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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 »
New Year’s Reflection
By: John Shook | January 15, 2015
Columns; eLetters
Happy New Year! Even if you are not one of those who makes New Year’s resolutions the new year is surely a good time for reflection. Lean thinkers conduct specific reflection after completing each activity. The transition to a new calendar year is an excellent occasion for general reflection, for asking: “how are things going?” More »
Boston Marathon 2013 – Reflections
By: Shook, John | April 16, 2013
Columns; eLetters
In business, as in sports, we like to compete. We believe competing can benefit everyone. “Everyone” means everyone – not just the “winners.  ” Competing is a way for us to focus our energy, to focus our efforts on improving. That improvement usually comes a little at a time. Sometimes we experience breakthroughs while at other times we suffer steps backwards. But, that’s okay. We can still focus on moving forward, on making things better. More »
Facilitating Reflection for Learning and Improvement
Workshops
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 »
How Menlo's Virtual Teams Are Lighting the Way Forward
By: Richard Sheridan | September 2, 2020
Columns
While Menlo Software continues to adjust to the never-ending changes caused by COVID-19, founder Rich Sheridan takes solace that they are teeing up these challenges as a team, figuring it out together, and continuing to work with each other across boundaries. More »
Our Burning Platform and Using the 5 Whys to Think More Deeply about Corrective Action
By: Christopher D. Chapman | July 23, 2020
Columns
A call to action: As lean thinkers, we should join with our diversity, equity, and inclusion experts to help transform our business cultures. We must muster up the courage on our burning platform to face the centuries-old problem of systematic racism in our law enforcement, government, healthcare, education, housing, and employment. More »
Being 'Right' is Not Enough
By: Josh Howell | July 21, 2020
Columns
All of us have problem-solving experiences to reflect on and learn from. And what better time to draw out that learning than now, when we as a society are tackling massive problems like the coronavirus pandemic and racism. In my case, I keep thinking about one experience when I failed. More »
Nine Lessons from Steady Work
By: Karen Gaudet | April 27, 2020
Columns
In her book Steady Work, Karen Gaudet discusses nine key lessons for practicing lean. Here she discusses these key principles. More »
Lean and "emotional heijunka" in a Time of Pandemic
By: James P. Womack | April 1, 2020
Columns
In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that must be addressed in a given process, and screening out the emotional inputs we are bombarded with so that we don't get into the dumps or soar with false euphoria. More »
Maintaining Emotional Heijunka During a Pandemic
By: James P. Womack | March 31, 2020
Columns; eLetters
In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that must be addressed in a given process, and screening out the emotional inputs we are bombarded with so that we don't get into the dumps or soar with false euphoria. More »
Coping with COVID-19: Lessons from The Plague
By: John Shook | March 25, 2020
Columns
In this time of pandemic, John Shook shares some ways this novel coronavirus is impacting him personally, noting "For Camus, hope is the enemy. But, from where I sit today (I may sit somewhere else or lie prone tomorrow), hope embodied in action is in itself medicinal. The most powerful medicine is to take caring action.  ” More »
WLEI: 32. Coachable: A Model Story, Coaching Work Improvement
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | January 27, 2020
Audio
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
Audio
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 »
My Personal Turning Point: Reflecting on a Decade as a Lean Coach
By: Josh Howell | January 14, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Last year I sat in the offices of several "lean champions" at their companies, agents of change who are trying to instill lean thinking throughout their organizations. Each had been in the role for years. A hallmark of their offices was a corner filled with rolled up flip chart papers - artifacts of past lean activities like value-stream maps. And a hallmark of our conversations were expressions of frustration with others who were not sustaining changes or choosing to make any in the first place. I could relate.    More »
How We Improved Our Tiered Daily Huddles
By: Nathan Hurle | November 8, 2019
Columns
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
Columns
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
Articles
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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 »
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