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Media Format: eLetters
“Do I have to be team leader for the rest of my life?"
By: John Shook | June 27, 2017
Columns; eLetters
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 »
Will a real andon system bring the factory to a full stop?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 26, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, What would happen if we practiced andon for real – wouldn’t the factory simply stop? More »
How can I tell good lean consultants from bad?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 19, 2017
Columns; eLetters
If lean’s not a scam – but there are scammers -- how can I distinguish good lean consultants from bad? More »
Follow-up to your comments on the “lean is a scam” column
By: Ballé, Michael | June 5, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Maybe the original questioner’s use of “scam” was a bit of an exaggeration. More »
Isn’t lean just a scam to squeeze teams for more production?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 22, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Lean is a scam. People like you who write about “respect” are pushing a smoke screen that allows consultants to just squeeze teams for more production without ever resolving the company’s deeper problems. More »
How can we tell if gemba walks by our CEO are actually improving the business?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 14, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, We’re instituting a program of gemba walks by our CEO. How will we know if we’re progressing? More »
Shouldn't lean focus on solutions, rather than problems?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 4, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Why is lean so focused on problem solving? Isn’t seeing everything as a problem negative? Shouldn’t we focus on solutions instead? Wouldn’t that be more positive and more creative? More »
What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures?
By: Michael Ballè | April 24, 2017
Columns; eLetters
I’m thinking of criteria that create a challenge, but stimulate a creative solution, e.  g. cost (no money, or keep within budget) .  .. More »
Isn’t lean all about culture?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 17, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Isn’t lean all about culture, really? More »
What do you mean by developing people?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 10, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, What do you mean by developing people? More »
What do you think are the pros and cons of merging lean and TOC?
By: Michael Ballè | March 30, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, In the DevOps movement, the amalgamation of agile, lean, and IT service management practices, there is a new entry that is making a big impact. This is The Theory of Constraints by [Eliyahu] Goldratt. Many believe that combining the thinking of Ohno and Goldratt can produce amazing and sustainable results far easier and faster than either can separately. Have you considered the pros and cons of lean and TOC or merging them? More »
How do we deal with a command-and-control boss?
By: Ballé, Michael | March 27, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Our boss always says, “It’s not my job to tell you how to do yours!” But then he tells us what to do all day long. How do we deal with this? More »
Is there a lean way of delegating?
By: Michael Ballè | March 3, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I’m an entrepreneur and I used to micromanage everything, quite successfully. Now the firm has grown and I’m trying to delegate. How do I stop myself from cutting in when the actions my department heads want to take are plain silly, or not very creative? More »
We meet daily to examine a new customer complaint. What do we do next?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 27, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, We’re a start-up and have taken your advice: we now have a customer wall and we meet daily to look into a new complaint. What do we do next? It’s hard to know what to do or how that helps? More »
What's the lean take on learning?
By: Michael Ballè | February 21, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Our previous CEO used to preach “servant leadership,” but now’s he’s left and the new style is far more traditional command and control. I’m personally interested in learning leadership and wondered what the lean take on it would be? More »
Does lean change how you think about business?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 13, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach I can see that lean changes how one thinks about business, but can’t quite put my finger on it. If you had to sum up the main changes in thinking, what would they be? More »
A Thriving Community of Practice - Book Report
By: John Shook | February 7, 2017
Columns; eLetters
I am often asked why the “lean movement” has outlasted so many business improvement movements that have come and gone. For some ad hoc thoughts in response to interview questions in that regard, check out my conversation with Roberto Priolo at Planet Lean. Surely one sign of the health of any community is the continuing evolution of theory and practice. Read more. More »
Is "lean" now just an over-hyped word that is losing its value?
By: Michael Ballè | January 30, 2017
Columns; eLetters
I have spent the day with a group of people in the LeanIT, Agile, ITSM, IT4IT, DevOps, etc. worlds.  We were all more or less saying the same thing; using the same words. In your opinion, is "lean" now just an over-hyped word losing its value? More »
Should value-stream mapping come before 5S?
By: Michael Ballè | January 19, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Shouldn’t VSM come before 5S so we see the whole picture first? More »
Is promising that lean will make work more meaningful disrespectful to people?
By: Michael Ballè | January 16, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Can lean really make work more meaningful for everybody? Isn’t this overpromising to workers and disrespectful to them because management really can't deliver on the promise? More »
What kind of conversation should I expect during a gemba walk?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 9, 2017
Columns; eLetters
One important thing to keep in mind is much of the key parts of the gemba walk conversation happen before and after actually being on the gemba. More »
What are your three most important problems?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 3, 2017
Columns; eLetters
What to look for during a gemba walk. More »
Does implementing lean mean creating a lean management system?
By: Michael Ballè | December 19, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, My understanding is that implementing lean means setting up a lean management system. You seem to disagree. Would you explain? More »
Why does my team resist multi-skilling?
By: Michael Ballè | December 12, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I’m trying to introduce multi-skilling in my team but am surprised by the amount of resistance I encounter from my team members. What am I missing? More »
Do andons apply to software development?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 6, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I work in software development, and I really don’t see how andon applies – what am I missing? More »
Does a Lean Company Need Explicit or Implicit Leadership?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 28, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Explicit leadership or implicit leadership? Does an explicit style sustain a lean organization? More »
Does lean have an ethical perspective other than goal-oriented efficiency?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 14, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, As a follow-up to your previous column on the question of whether lean has a spiritual dimension, does lean have an ethical perspective other than goal-oriented efficiency? More »
Is there a spiritual dimension to lean?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 7, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Is there a spiritual dimension to lean? More »
What's the difference between a sensei and a consultant?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 31, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Is there a difference between a sensei and a consultant? Beyond the way they market themselves, don’t they do the same thing? More »
What should I know about lean management that I won’t find in books?
By: Michael Ballè | October 21, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I’m new to lean and reading all I can find about it, but is there something specific I need to look out for; is there something I should know that I won’t find in the books? More »
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