“Do I have to be team leader for the rest of my life?"
By: John Shook | June 27, 2017
At his talk at the Lean Transformation Summit earlier this year, and at conferences since then, including Industry Week and Shingo, Lantech CEO Jim Lancaster shared these words, expressing a Groundhog Day-like despair at having to solve the same problems on a daily basis (“Didn’t we do this yesterday?”). As he voiced his anguish, I looked out and saw a good 600 of the 660 listeners looking down at their feet in a shared response, his comment the awakening whap of a “Zen stick” (as Dan Prock would say, see PS below) inspiring each listener to reflect, “Yes, that’s me!” More »
Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself
By: David Verble | June 22, 2017
In the third installment in his series on the importance of proper communication from managers to their employees, David Verble shares "a simple way that managers and leaders – and you, lean coordinators and coaches – can get a sense of how your words and the way they are delivered 'land' with others. " More »
Manager-Employee Communication: What Neuroscience Tells Us
By: David Verble | June 21, 2017
In yesterday's Post, David Verble introduced us to the importance of proper, tactful communication from leaders to employees. Today he delves a bit deeper into the topic, focusing on the neuroscience behind this critical element of lean organizations. More »
Leaders’ Actions Speak but Their Talk Matters Too
By: David Verble | June 20, 2017
"Many organizations are investing in lean continuous improvement programs, systems and staff," writes David Verble. "Frequently there are critical pieces missing in these initiatives, however. " And one of the most critical is an understanding by managers of how their talk impacts employees. Read more. More »
Ask Art: Does lean compromise innovation?
By: Art Byrne | June 14, 2017
To some, lean and innovation seem counterproductive. But Art Byrne is not one of them. Find out why he says "lean and innovation are and have always been completely compatible" and how it can help your organization reach next-level results. More »
The Humble Learner
By: Dave LaHote | June 9, 2017
“Try to do every task better today than we did yesterday”. More importantly, the guidance and technical assistance from Inoac and later Toyota helped us learn to become a good supplier who made money. In only a couple of years the plant went from being on the closure list to one of our most profitable. At the heart of this change was our Sensi Mr. Nakane. Always teaching by going to see, asking why and always showing respect. It was the combination of the lean tools with lean thinking that helped us build a successful organization over time. More »
7 Things Coaches Need to Get Over
By: Mike Orzen | June 8, 2017
"Over the years, I have noticed some common misperceptions about coaching effective problem solving skills and developing lean thinking," writes Mike Orzen. Read more to learn seven of them to improve your coaching practice. More »
I'll Follow You into the Dark...
By: Leslie Barker | June 7, 2017
We all know that lean transformations can happen in any industry or environment. But have you ever thought about a photography darkroom as the site of a lean transformation? That was where Leslie Barker first experience lean in action - here's her story of what she learned. More »
3 Interview Questions to Gauge Candidates’ Problem-Solving Capacity
By: Derrick Redding | June 1, 2017
It's always great to promote from within when trying to fill lean leadership roles. But what if you have to fill the positions using external candidates? Lean veteran Derrick Redding shares some strategies he uses to assess candidates' match for a problem-solving culture. More »
Your Gemba Isn't the Only Gemba to Walk
By: Aaron Hunt | May 31, 2017
We all know the critical importance of gemba walks in our organization. But what many of us forget is that sometimes visiting OTHER gembas can be just as value add as visiting our own. Aaron Hunt knows this well - in his latest Post, he shares two stories of how visiting someone else's gemba inspired him to improve his own. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Personal Kanbans for Lean Beginners
By: Lean Leaper | May 25, 2017
Kanban boards. For many of us, they were the first visual management tools we used that taught us the benefits of lean. They're simple, effective and easily customizable to suit your own unique work and challenges. Today, three of LEI's relative newcomers to lean share their own personal kanban boards and the impact they've had on their work. More »
When Do You Stop Learning?
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | May 23, 2017
Lean is about learning continuously and asking the right questions, not just providing answers. But, Orry Fiume wonders, does the learning ever stop? Do we ever reach a point in our development where we transition from a learner to a decision-maker? Find out the answer. More »
Are You Prioritizing Efficiency Over Value?
By: Cameron Ford | May 18, 2017
A major element of lean is efficiency, but it's certainly not the ONLY element. While it may seem logical that customers value efficiency, an overreliance on speed can cripple the experience for them. Inspired by a rather painful experience at an orthopedic clinic, Cam Ford explores this further. More »
By: John Y. Shook | May 18, 2017
Ford CEO Mark Fields just decided he needed to cut costs. Then he suddenly realized he had 1400 people he didn't need so decided to eliminate their jobs. Did he need those people two weeks ago? Will he need them two weeks from now? More »
Ask Art: Is Lean a Strategy?
By: Art Byrne | May 17, 2017
The debate over whether lean should be considered a strategy, philosophy, methodology, etc. is a long one. Merriam-Webster defines a strategy as "a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time. " Does lean fit into that label? Art Byrne explores. More »
Lean Roundup: Lean in the News
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | May 16, 2017
"While few business leaders seem to be discussing lean explicitly these days, there are certainly a great deal of tangentially lean conversations happening wherever you look," writes LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld. Particularly in the news - read more. More »
"Too Busy to Walk the Gemba"
By: Chris Weisbrod | May 10, 2017
Chris Weisbrod of Catalysis explains why healthcare leaders often claim they're too busy to walk the gemba and shares a strategy for reversing that mindset. More »
A Tool That Every High-Mix, Low-Volume Leader Needs to See
By: Greg Lane | May 9, 2017
"High mix, low volume operations are a difficult concept to grasp," writes Greg Lane. But it doesn't have to be - with a few simple tools and concepts, you can handle the constant changes typical of a HMLV environment. Today, Lane shares one of his favorites. More »
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