Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Better Way: Leadership, Development, and Engagement - Northeast Lean Conference Recap Day 2

Yesterday I shared a couple highlights from Day 1 of the 11th Annual Northeast Lean Conference. Today we’ll continue with a recap of learnings from day 2. The morning kicked off with a presentation from Norman Bodek who discovered and published many of the original Toyota works and an initiator of the Shingo Prize in 1988. His presentation was about how to be a great leader/coach and how to have a wonderful life.

It is amazing what people are capable of doing if they can just believe in themselves and have a strong coach to support and guide them. The Harada Method teaches self-reliance, how to “stand on your own two feet." People pick a success goal, develop a time frame and plan out how to go about achieving the goal. This in itself is not easy, for most people are reluctant to pick a goal. They do not want to fail. But, using the Harada Method, people see the advantage of having a personal success goal that is linked to the corporation's vision. They then can see the purpose and value of their new goal and, with your help as coach/mentor, they work on a process to achieve it. Much like athletes striving to win a championship, employees write down their goals, write out a step-by-step plan to attain their goals, measure themselves against their goals and receive guidance and feedback. If people follow this plan, they will be absolutely successful.

The Harada Method is now recognized as one of the most systematic ways to enhance human resource development. With the Harada Method, you think of the purpose whenever you set a goal and you align these by setting target dates, measuring progress, sustaining efforts through written purpose and value statements, analyzing past successes and failures, establishing new routines to break past habits, preparing a daily journal to schedule your work life and keep you focused on your growth goals. You grow enormously and you learn how to be a great leader to coach others to improve both their lives and to their work performance.

The presentation was by Mike Martyn, a Shingo Award-Winning Author of “Own the Gap.”  At the heart of a leader's role in creating a CI culture is their ability to coach and develop their people. But the role management systems play in creating opportunities for leaders to connect with their people on a daily basis is frequently overlooked. He introduced principle-based management systems that create an environment of team-based problem solving and daily kaizen. He shared examples of how successful implementation of the “4-Key Systems" by leaders can bring about ideal behaviors, increased buy in and heightened engagement by their people in the change process to take their culture of daily kaizen to the next level.  

The four key systems of management that engage people to improve:
·        Strategy (Hoshin Kanri) – alignment is key
o   What does it mean to win?
·        Gaps – visual gaps, coaching for improvement
o   Are we winning?
·        Problem solving – system to solve problems routinely, improvement teams
o   What are we doing about it?
·        Standard follow-up – management support teams, make sure first 3 are working well
o   How can I help you win?
It boils down to creating actionable gaps and systemically closing the gaps. The “experience” you create matters so engage everyone in the transformation.

The last presentation was team effort by Jamie Bonini, VP of Toyota Production System Support Center, and Bruce Watkins, GM of Karl Storz. They shared the story of transforming a complex endoscope production line to true single piece flow. The process not only involved a great deal of analysis and process improvement, but also a sea change in leadership at every level and department. A key to creating a problem-solving culture of continuous improvement at KARL STORZ Endovision (KSE) was the intense engagement of senior leaders under the guidance of coaches to learn and practice a new way of managing. Leaders should adopt TPS as a way to strengthen the quality, safety and productivity of their production system.

Bruce Hamilton closed the conference as he usually does by inspiring all of us to action.  He said we need to share within our community.  I took that to heart sharing my learning at the conference last week over these past 2 days.  I hope you’ll find some gold (value) in these nuggets that will help you put the pieces together.

Next year’s conference will be in Worcester, MA so get ready for another wonderful event by GBMP!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Skills, Habits, and Behaviors for Improvement - Northeast Lean Conference Day 1 Recap

Last week I spent a couple days at The 11th Annual Northeast Shingo Prize Conference in Springfield, MA.  The wonderful conference hosted by GBMP was an exhilarating learning experience for me so I thought I would share some of those nuggets with you.

The first presentation was from my friend Dan Markovitz about his new book Building a Fit Organization. Everyone knows that in order to reach optimum levels of health, you have to exercise―and that you have to keep at it, day after day after day. No big secret here.  It’s the same with process improvement, and, specifically, lean processes.

Key principles include of improving your organization along the fitness analogy:
1)              Committing to Fitness/ Improvement
a.     The coach/leader needs to how to drive out fear
b.     Spirit – i.e. Paul Akers 2 second lean, Improve yourself every day
2)              Don’t focus on weight loss (waste) focus on strength/power/ fitness (value creation).
a.     Don’t focus on cost cutting
3)              Think Horizontal not vertical (training for a specific event) (focus on end goal)
a.     Think of the end result, what does your customer need
b.     The value stream map is the tool that gets you there
4)              The Right way to do things (Standard work)
a.     There is a right way to train for the event, don’t get caught up in the chaos.
b.     Focus on what is important and not in adminastrivity of business.
5)              Real Time feedback (Visual Management)
a.     Fitness facilities have mirrors everywhere
b.     How can you see ahead or behind and when do you react
6)              Coaching
a.     The coach/trainer is always there.
b.     Coach must be involved, know what the team is doing
c.     It is vitally important for management to be present.
Another presentation on developing cultural habits for success by Tim Crocker was particularly interesting. Frequently well-executed process improvement rollouts are unsuccessful. Often this result is due to required skills and habits missing from the culture – not faults in the methodology of the implementation. The specific cultural habits are coaching, communication, service orientation, personal accountability, results orientation, and simplification.

·       Communication
o   Core competency, meeting structures, relationships & emotional intelligence
o   Determine cultural norms for communication – face to face, phones before email, meetings with agendas, silence cell phone, never reply all
o   Use a Tier meeting system – daily to monthly at specific levels of business – map out your structure
·       Coaching
o   Routine (1on1), mentoring, focus on habits and behaviors not results, foster a mindset that craves feedback, use worksheet
o   Understand the change denial curve,
·       Service Orientation
o   Servant leadership, doing more than required, a belief that you can make a difference, do better for the team.
o   Share power and empower your team, be goals focused, people development, not results focused
·       Personal Accountability
o   Defined responsibilities, clear expectations, and clear ownership
·       Results Orientated
o   Practice and recognize habits, develop shared mental models, reward the right habits
·       Simplification
o   Habit or practice to use, visualize information

Changing your organizations culture and implementing a major project concurrently makes the difficult nearly impossible. Developing these habits in advance of the roll out, or any major effort, increases the chance of success. The habits can be developed and codified through drafting community of practice guide that sets methods and expectations. There are specific techniques, training, and workshops to improve and align each of these foundational cultural habits. These are all skills that can be learned and developed at all levels of the organization.

The last presentation of the first day was from Ariens President and CEO Dan Ariens. Dan shared his experience and lean journey over the last 15 years leading the company’s Lean transformation. He believes Lean initiatives are the heart of American business and the core of its future. The Ariens Company opened it’s doors to Thedacare to start the Lean Healthcare revolution.

A Lean journey at its best represents disciplined chaos and those who work at implementing long-term change understand this contradiction well. But Dan Ariens credits this chaos for providing an opportunity for everyone in an organization to become a Lean leader.

The 7 behaviors of a Lean Leader from Ariens perspective:
1)     Servant Leaders – are you masters of people or a person of masters
a.     Be honest
b.     Be fair
c.     Keep our commitments
d.     Respect the individual
e.     Encourage intellectual curiosity
2)     Relentless Change
a.     Leaders must be comfortable in environment of relentless change
3)     Disciplined Chaos – You must be disciplined in the chaos
4)     Benevolent Dictator
a.     Be very disciplined about how things are dealt with in company, rules
5)     Fearless Anxiety
a.     Lots of pressure on a leader – you have to face the anxiety, be fearless
6)     Cultural Revolution
a.     Leadership commitment – need to have great leadership to transform
7)     Confident Humility
a.     When you start to feel good about yourself you lose passion – you lose steam
b.     Continuous drive for improvement, it’s a journey, that’s what is important
c.     “Constant pursuit for perfection but along the way knowing you never reach it but finding success along the way” – Vince Lombardi.

Stay tuned tomorrow I’ll share some highlights from the second day of the conference.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Happiness Formula In Three Simple Steps

Most people believe that happiness arises from suitable conditions, and that to be happy requires one to find, for example: a good job, a nice house, a new car, etc. However, it is actually more effective to rely on intrinsic ways of finding happiness, rather than through these extrinsic, object-oriented ones. Being happy is actually achieved mostly through one’s behavior and outlook rather than material, situational means. This is why it’s important to start cultivating healthy habits.

Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan is on a mission to make the world more peaceful and people happier. The secret to happiness, he says, is in doing three things every day.

Step one is to “calm your mind” by pausing during the day and paying attention to your breath. Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to offer numerous benefits.

Step two is to “log moments of joy.” All too often we focus on the negative and ignore or overlook the positive moments. Acknowledge more of the good things to counterbalance the negatives.

Step three is to “wish other people to be happy.” Being altruistic can turn around a bad mood and empathy is a very valuable skill. Remind yourself to wish for others’ happiness could, in turn, boost yours.

The video above is Meng talking about some of these concepts at Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” course. Although these three simple steps might not work for everyone, it’s worth a try if it means experiencing more joy.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Lean Quote: Creating A No Blame Environment

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Don’t find fault, find a remedy.— Henry Ford

Our greatest fear is the fear of being humiliated. So it’s not surprising that folks hide their mistakes and avoid saying and doing unusual things so they won’t be ridiculed. And yet, these unusual things – and what we can learn from our mistakes – may be just what’s needed to solve a problem.

Everyone’s contribution is needed. We can’t tolerate the old thinking of looking for someone to blame. No-blame environments produce decreased problems, fewer defects, increased productivity, higher profits – and – more genuine employee involvement and ownership. In short, work becomes a more fun place as the focus switches to satisfying the customer by achieving results. A no-blame environment does not mean people aren’t accountable – far from it . . . they are more so. And proud of it!

Follow these key points to build and grow a no-blame environment:

  • You build a “no-blame” environment every day – one conversation at a time. Use every conversation as an opportunity to build another’s self-esteem.
  • Managers and workers are partners in the improvement process. They share facts daily through straight talk and generous listening.
  • Mistakes are part of the “facts” in everyone’s work life. Use mistakes as opportunities for improvement – not vehicles for discipline.
  • Emphasize fact finding, not fault finding. Fact-finders observe, listen, ask questions, reserve judgement, analyze and conclude the facts. They replace the words “I think …” with, “Here is what the data tells us …”
  • Point fingers only at processes – not people.
  • Managers are responsible for creating a safe-from-ridicule, no-blame environment of trust & integrity. Their role is to coach & lead by example.
  • Workers are responsible for supporting & reinforcing the positive behaviors of fellow workers & management.

You start the process by beginning to live it. Remember, real change takes place through the conversations we have every day with each other. It is in your own best interest to make every conversation an opportunity to build another person’s self-esteem. This approach can work wonders in your company.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lean Roundup #76 – September, 2015

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of September, 2015.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

A Simple Method for Achieving the Vision – Gregg Stocker describes a way to determine and align to your vision.

Is Plan Do Check Act Dead? – Bill DuBois revisits PDCA some 60 years later with a supply chain slant.

5 Ways To Become A Complexity Assassin – Marci Reynolds shares 5 ways to avoid complexity that prevents collaboration and meeting objectives.

Burning Platform – Bruce Hamilton discusses the stressful, dehumanizing environment of a push system.

Is Quality a Result or a System? – Jamie Flinchbaugh discusses why you need a quality system in order to get a quality result.

People Copy Examples and Wonder Why They Don’t Succeed – John Hunter says while we can learn from others when we copy we lose the learning from the solution.

Confidence and Humility: Two Critical Leadership Characteristics – Gregg Stocker describes two leadership qualities that work together toward constancy of purpose.

Prediction Doesn’t Equal Understanding – Mark Rosenthal discusses why you can’t manage to KPIs and that you must seek to understand the process.

How Will You Motivate Your Team, Pascal-san? – Pascal Dennis shares some tips o motivate people to pull together for a long time toward a shared Noble goal, and thereby achieve the extraordinary things.

Searching For Lean Sustainability – Bob Emiliani says thinking that Lean management is sustainable will harm your Lean efforts. Searching for an end-point (sustainability) that does not exist will bias your Lean efforts against daily practice for improvement and result in underdeveloped critical thinking skills.

Improving Versus Getting Others To Improve – Michael Baudin talks about how you persuade others to improve.

Data is Not a Replacement for Observation – Janet Dozier says data gives you results and shows you where to focus improvement efforts, but observation shows you the waste and the details of the actual process being followed every day.

What Motivates People at Work? - Aaron Fausz shares a short list of things that motivate people in their jobs, regardless of role, position or industry.

The Pursuit of Imperfection – Jon Miller uses a food waste example to  show in the pursuit of perfection it is very important not be be blinded by our own beliefs about “perfection”.

Discovering the Value of People – Kevin Meyer shares a story that shows how people create value more than their cost offset, leaders need to discover this.

Methodological Errors In Lean Government – Bob Emiliani describes 14 methodological errors in the practice of Lean management in government that must be corrected.

Another Conversation About L.A.M.E. and Lean in Manufacturing and Healthcare – Mark Graban shares some not so Lean examples as lessons to us all.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Conference

In a few days, I will be attending one of the best Lean Thinking conferences in New England, The Northeast Lean Conference. As I prepare for the conference this year I thought I would share some advice on making the most out of your conference experience.

Sharing with like-minded people who have various experiences can create a support network for continuous improvement and learning. Professional groups that share your interest in a particular topic, offer a great forum to learn and share. Special interest groups within these groups can offer further topic specialization and can be a tremendous way to learn or be mentored.

Industry associations and trade organizations offer a variety of training options, including conferences, seminars, certifications and more. There may be a cost associated with some of this training, and access to some of the resources may require membership.

By attending conferences, trade shows, and workshops you can find quality teachings. Guest speakers entertain, educate and inspire their audiences through motivational and informational presentations. They are particularly good for networking with others that you can learn from and share with.
There are some tips you should consider to make the most out of your conference experience.

1. Before the conference.
As Dr. Stephen R. Covey (author of the international bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) would advise: “Start with the end in mind.” Make concrete connections between the value the conference represents and your personal and professional goals. Outline several detailed goals that you are committed to and keep them in mind throughout this process. Explore the conference schedule. Be selective and strategic about your planning schedule. Begin by focusing on areas relevant to your interests.

2. Attend the sessions, listen, and learn.
Remember the focus of the conference. Whether it’s to meet new people with common interests or take advantage of being in a learning environment. Come prepared to learn. Listen to peers in conversations. Attend and participate in sessions. Soak up what you hear and learn to improve your business or yourself.

3. Network, Network, Network.
Conferences are a great opportunity to meet new people who have your similar interests, new and different ideas and great feedback for your business. Have a positive attitude, a stack of business cards ready to mingle, strike up conversations and start meaningful relationships.

4. Distill every talk down to one key takeaway.
Every presenter at a conference has his or her own style. Some people tell a story, sometimes there is a video or set of images, and sometimes there is a full slide presentation. Given our short memories and the great amount of stimuli, it is important to distill each presentation down to a central point. After each presentation, ask yourself what struck you, what did you learn? Perhaps there was a specific tip that you could adapt in your own work - or some piece of counter intuitive advice that really resonated.

5. Follow-up.
Organize any materials that you collected at the conference. Make a list of the new things you learned at the conference and write down one strategy for each idea that outlines how you’ll incorporate what you learned in your daily work. Write up a summary of what you learned at the conference and share it with your supervisor. Offer to present a session or workshop on a particular topic to your co-workers. Follow up with any new contacts you made at the conference to continue the discussion.

Lastly, you should review the conference. While it is fresh in your mind, consider what worked well and what didn’t. Think about what you’d do differently if you attended again. Make a few notes for yourself that you can refer to when planning to attend again.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Lean Quote: Don’t Give Up, Overcome Fear of Failure

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.— Thomas A. Edison

Fear of failure is one of the greatest fears people have. It is a genuinely scary thing for many people, and often the reason that individuals do not attempt the things they would like to accomplish. But the only true failure is failure to make the attempt. If you don't try, you gain nothing, and life is too short a thing to waste.

Although we all make mistakes, fear of failure doesn’t have to cripple you. Take these steps to overcome your fear of failure and move yourself forward to getting the result you desire:

Step One: Take action. Bold, decisive action. Do something scary. Fear of failure immobilizes you. To overcome this fear, you must act. When you act, act boldly.
Action gives you the power to change the circumstances or the situation. You must overcome the inertia by doing something. Be brave and just do it. If it doesn’t work out the way you want, then do something else. But do something now.

Step Two: Persist. Successful people just don’t give up. They keep trying different approaches to achieving their outcomes until they finally get the results they want. Unsuccessful people try one thing that doesn’t work and then give up. Often people give up when they are on the threshold of succeeding.

Step Three: Don’t take failure personally. Failure is about behavior, outcomes, and results. Failure is not a personality characteristic. Although what you do may not give you the result you wanted, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. Because you made a mistake, doesn’t mean that you are a failure.

Step Four: Do things differently. If what you are doing isn’t working, do something else. There is an old saying, "if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got." If you’re not getting the results you want, then you must do something different. Most people stop doing anything at all, and this guarantees they won’t be successful.

Step Five: Treat the experience as an opportunity to learn. Think of failure as a learning experience. What did you learn from the experience that will help you in the future? How can you use the experience to improve yourself or your situation? Ask yourself these questions:

(1) What was the mistake?
(2) Why did it happen?
(3) How could it have been prevented?
(4) How can I do better next time?

Then use what you learned from the experience to do things differently so you get different results next time. Learn from the experience or ignore it.

Most often we learn through trial and error. We reserve the word success for the accomplishment of difficult things and there are few difficult things you get right on the first try. Hence while success does not ALWAYS start with failure, it would be fair to say it does most of the time. If you aren't failing, you're not trying, and if you aren't trying you aren't succeeding.

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