We’re trying something new on the Post: rounding up some of the best or more interesting lean-themed articles from around the web. Our goal? Make the work of the larger lean community more visible. Check out these 5 recently published articles you may have missed and let us know what you think!
- “Value is Created By Doing,” Sam Altman
The website 99u turned us on to this short and thoughtful blog by venture capitalist Sam Altman, in which Altman asks us to think carefully about where we spend our time and what actually constitutes value creating work. You can talk as much as you want, but it’s all about execution. Tons of meetings don’t mean much if you’re not getting anything done. This article is helpful for knowledge workers or entrepreneurs trying to figure how best to spend their time.
- Electric Guitars Made from the Detritus of Detroit, Open Culture
An interesting “product development meets upcycling” story out of one of America’s greatest industrial cities, recommended to us by Senior Advisor for Lean Product and Process Development at LEI, Jim Morgan. Check out these guitars made with reclaimed wood from abandoned homes. While Detroit may be in the process of reinventing itself, there are companies hard at work making sure nothing goes to waste.
- “Great Strategy Begins with a CEO on the Frontlines” by Brent Saunders and Ken Banta in Harvard Business Review
Lean thinking is all about listening closely to the customer about what constitutes value in their eyes. In the organization, it’s also about listening to the frontline worker who is closest to the customer and is also doing the value-creating work. This HBR article speaks about the importance of the CEO not just being aware of the value-creating work being done on the frontlines, but letting frontline workers’ knowledge inform the organization’s high-level strategy and gives two examples of when this made a difference.
- “Jeff Liker, The Toyota Way, and Unintended Consequences” an interview with Jeff Liker by Pete Abilla
A thoughtful and candid interview with Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of The Toyota Product Development System: Integrating People, Process, and Technology on why he does the work he does, his latest research, and the “unintended consequeneces” of sharing so much of Toyota Production System. “Give a book about the Toyota Way to one person and they take in the core concepts and it begins to positively influence their thinking, while another person gets mad because they think it is Toyota worship, and a third person takes away a few ideas for tools and misses the core philosophy. It always can be frustrating to try to communicate something you are passionate about because it will always be misunderstood by some.”
- “10 Signs You Respect Me As an Employee,” Michael Ballé and Dan Jones in Fast Company
“Lean thinking essentially means constantly looking for ways to increase customer value by decreasing waste caused to the customer by our own processes,” write Ballé and Jones. But “continuous improvement can only happen when the relationship between manager and employee is one of respect.” This article is helpful to leaders who want to do better by their team, but aren’t sure where to start. It’s also helpful reminder for anyone of what you deserve as an employee in terms of safety, fulfilling work, and opportunities for learning.