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“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 »
Engagement and Elephants: How Lean Changed the San Diego Zoo
By: Lean Leaper | June 27, 2017
Columns
In this exclusive video from the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit, Director of Performance Improvement Jeff Foster dishes on some of his experiences implementing lean at the San Diego Zoo. 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 »
Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself
By: David Verble | June 22, 2017
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
"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 »
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 »
Daily Management, Daily Sustainment: The Remarkable Story of Lean Transformation at Lantech
By: Lean Leaper | June 15, 2017
Columns
Jim Lancaster attended the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit in Carlsbad, California to speak about Lantech's journey to create a daily management system. Today on the Lean Post we feature a video of his talk on the role of management in sustaining the gains of lean. More »
Ask Art: Does lean compromise innovation?
By: Art Byrne | June 14, 2017
Columns
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 »
Advice from the Gemba: More Mistakes that Lean Leaders Make
By: Lean Leaper | June 13, 2017
Columns
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 »
The Humble Learner
By: Dave LaHote | June 9, 2017
Columns
“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
Columns
"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
Columns
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 »
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 »
How a Retailer's Distribution Center Exemplifies the Lean Precept “Respect for People,” and Reaps the Benefits
By: David Drickhamer | June 5, 2017
Case Studies
To make sure training engaged and resonated with people after previous attempts at a lean transformation faltered, LifeWay matched lean management tools and principles to its Bible-based culture and language. More »
3 Interview Questions to Gauge Candidates’ Problem-Solving Capacity
By: Derrick Redding | June 1, 2017
Columns
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
Columns
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 »
A3 Coaching: What Feedback Would You Give?
By: Lean Leaper | May 30, 2017
Columns
You be our coach: what feedback/coaching would you offer on our example A3? We'd like to hear from you! More »
Advice from the Gemba: Personal Kanbans for Lean Beginners
By: Lean Leaper | May 25, 2017
Columns
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 »
Managing to Win: The Remarkable Lean Transformation of Phase 2
By: Lean Leaper | May 24, 2017
Columns
Revisit the enlightening case study of Phase 2's lean transformation in the face of losing its biggest customer, plus insider info from an interview with CEO Adam Prime. More »
When Do You Stop Learning?
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | May 23, 2017
Columns
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 »
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 »
Are You Prioritizing Efficiency Over Value?
By: Cameron Ford | May 18, 2017
Columns
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 »
Job 1?
By: John Y. Shook | May 18, 2017
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
"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 »
Webinar: The Real Work of Management
By: Jim Lancaster | May 16, 2017
Videos and Webinars
The Real Work of Management webinar featuring Jim Lancaster, author of The Work Management. 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 »
Advice from the Gemba: Standardizing Work for Leaders with Varied Tasks
By: Lean Leaper | May 12, 2017
Columns
How, many people ask LEI, can you possibly standardize a leader's work when even they can't predict what their work will look like on a given day? The answer: by adopting the right approach. Three LEI faculty members weigh in. More »
"Too Busy to Walk the Gemba"
By: Chris Weisbrod | May 10, 2017
Columns
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 »
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