Friday, December 2, 2016

Lean Quote: Courage Emboldens You to Try New Ideas

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.

"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

All men and women of great accomplishments have possessed this supreme character trait. Fear does not make on a coward; failure to face fear does. The courageous achievers in every generation have confronted challenges and overcome obstacles even when they were afraid. Courage enables you to speak up when it would be easier to remain silent. We call this having the courage of your convictions. Courage emboldens you to try new ideas when you risk failure. Courage inspires you to pursue your dreams even when you risk disappointment.

However, courage never exists in a vacuum. People are not courageous for the sake of courage. They’re courageous because they are committed to a cause. Men and women are willing to die in combat because they believe in protecting their fellow soldiers, their freedoms, their country, and their families. Martyrs throughout centuries have died for their faith. Men and women of integrity are honest even when it’s not financially expedient because they’re committed to their values.

Are you courageous? Are you willing to take risks for something you believe in? Are you ready to endure hardship for the sake of a cause? Are you able to make sacrifices for the sake of your values?

Courage is not inherited. You must develop it by living a purposeful life committed to deeply held values and meaningful goals. You must strengthen it by repeatedly choosing to confront your fears. As you set goals and strive to achieve them in all areas of your personal and business life – as you face your daily challenges with positive actions – your courage and confidence will grow. When you believe in yourself, others will rally to your cause. Courage will imbues you with a leadership quality that your team will support and respect.


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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lean Roundup #90 – November, 2016



A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of November, 2016.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

Lean Without Drama – Bob Emiliani reflects back on how he learned Lean and discusses the drawback for taking a conventional management approach to learning Lean.

15 Things Consultants Add That You – Jeff Hajek shares some extras that consultants provide which are generally things that people can, and should, be doing on their own.

5 Tips To Catapult Employee Engagement During the Holiday Season – Marci Reynolds gives five tips to catapult employee engagement and satisfaction during the holiday season.

Establishing the Leadership Routine - Bill Kirkwood talks about the benefits of leader standard work.

How Does a Fukushima Culture Evolve? – Pascal Dennis talks about the importance of making problems visible and management going to see actual conditions.

Hopes and Dreams – Bob Emiliani says we failed to meet our challenge to use Lean management to help workers prosper and reduce human suffering and why it is still our challenge.

6 Supply Chain Lessons from Henry Ford - Alexa Cheater shares the top six things Henry Ford can teach you about your supply chain.

Transforming the Management System of an Organization – John Hunter talks about implementing a Deming management system.

It’s “What must we learn?” not “What should we do?” – Mark Rosenthal discusses his process of learning over the years.

Introducing Lean in Your Organization – Bob Emiliani shares an approach to implementing Lean by looking at Toyota not those who closely studied Toyota.

Lean People Don’t Say Things Like “Idiot Proofing” – Mark Graban advocates that we can teach instead of identifying idiots when problem solving.

“Simple Ain’t Easy” - Orest (Orry) Fiume talks about the importance of reducing the time it takes to do everything.


Ask Art: What sets lean accounting apart from traditional accounting? – Art Byrne discusses the power of Lean Accounting compared to standard cost accounting.



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Monday, November 28, 2016

7 Process Improvement Concepts


Everything everyone does within an organization is part of a process. So invariably if you want to improve what the organization does, then you have to focus on improving the process. By putting your emphasis on the process, you avoid the typical trap that so many business leaders seem to fall prey to – looking to cut costs, they focus on trimming payrolls or pushing people to do more with less. This short-sided approach may get a brief bump in performance. However, in the long-run you end up increasing costs, reducing value to the customer, and making it harder for the company to compete.

Process improvement is one of the fundamental steps in business management. Continuous process improvement focuses on improving the output of any process. This is done through evaluating each step and eliminating the “non-value added” or NVA steps. 

To get things going, there are seven concepts you need to work your process improvement plan around:

1. Always ask why. Question why we do what we do. Is there a better way?
2. Eliminate can’t. Anything can be changed! Anything can be done!
3. Just do it. Be confident and have an action-oriented attitude.
4. Discard conventional thinking.
5. Question the current situation. Don’t make excuses.
6. Do not seek perfection – 51% chance is good enough.
7. Seek the wisdom of ten people, rather than the knowledge of one.

Process improvement is an ongoing practice and should always be followed up with the analysis of tangible areas of improvement. When implemented successfully, the results can be measured in the enhancement of product quality, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, increased productivity, development of the skills of employees, efficiency and increased profit resulting in higher and faster return on investment (ROI).


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Friday, November 25, 2016

Lean Quote: Show Your Appreciation and Gratitude

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.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.." — William Arthur Ward

Thanksgiving Day has evolved over the years as an important holiday. It is not just about feasting and merrymaking. The tradition of Thanksgiving dinner teaches us to appreciate the finer things in life. It is about showing one's gratitude for the blessings that we are showered with. In all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Thanksgiving, take a moment to focus on what being thankful is all about. 

Being thankful for what we already have is probably the most powerful tool of positive thinking. The ability to notice what we already have and to consider ourselves blessed with it truly unlocks the door to abundance and to feeling good.

Thankfulness is something we have to practice. It is like learning how to play the piano. Just as anyone who wishes to play piano well has to practice scales over and over again, thanksgiving must be practiced continually.

Thanksgiving provides the perfect opportunity for employers to reflect on how often they offer thanks and praise to their employees. Your employees work hard for you all year, and what better season to show your appreciation and gratitude than now, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving Day has evolved over the years as an important holiday. It is not just about feasting and merrymaking. The tradition of Thanksgiving dinner teaches us to appreciate the finer things in life. It is about showing one's gratitude for the blessings that we are showered with. In all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Thanksgiving, take a moment to focus on what being thankful is all about. 

I'm Thankful for You

Thanksgiving is the appointed time
for focusing on the good in our lives.
In each of our days,
we can find small blessings,
but too often we overlook them,
choosing instead to spend our time
paying attention to problems.
We give our energy
to those who cause us trouble
instead of those who bring peace.
Starting now,
let's be on the lookout
for the bits of pleasure in each hour,
and appreciate the people who
bring love and light to everyone
who is blessed to know them.
You are one of those people.
On Thanksgiving,
I'm thankful for you.
Happy Thanksgiving!

By Joanna Fuchs

I am thankful for you, the readers of A Lean Journey Blog. You make sharing my thoughts rewarding in so many ways. I wanted to take this time to resound my appreciation for your interest, dialogue, and support of me and A Lean Journey Blog. 

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Giving Thanks at Work


As Thanksgiving approaches, it is typically the time of year when we take a moment to count the blessings in our life and give thanks.  Often, the word “thankful” seems less than adequate to express how we truly feel and does not completely convey our gratitude.  There are so many things for which we should be grateful.  In fact, we should try to take stock of the sources of gratitude in our lives and demonstrate our gratitude on a daily basis – not just at Thanksgiving.

Consider these three ways to thank and celebrate your employees:

1. Take the time to talk to, and get to know, your employees. The most significant way to thank your employees is to get to know them. Take them to lunch or schedule time to ask about their values, hobbies, and interests. Understand your employees. Use what you now know about them to build a customized skills-improvement performance plan. Spend time with, and become interested in, each of your employees. 

2. Ask employees what they think. The best way to feel appreciated is to be included – to feel that your perspectives matter. In a Lean environment, we need input from all of our employees to be successful. Including employees in company issues, challenges, and opportunities empowers them, engages them, and connects them to strategy and vision of the company.

3. Say thank you, and mean it. Most managers actually do thank employees who do great work. Employees work for more than money. They work for the praise and acknowledgement of their managers. A sincere thank you, said at the time of a specific event that warrants the applause, is one of the most effective ways to appreciate employees. Remember the phrase, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.” Start to say “thank you” or “I appreciate what you do” when it is deserved and it will inspire the behaviors to continue. Make it personal and sincere. Catch employees doing great things and respond. It empowers them, appreciates them, and celebrates their performance.

Regardless of your style and how you do it, connecting with employees and taking the opportunity to thank them, when ever you can, pays dividends for everyone. Appreciating and thanking your employees isn’t hard or costly. So take the time to make a difference in your employee’s life. You will be pleasantly rewarded by them making a difference in yours

This Thanksgiving, remember to extend a special thank you to your coworkers. Not only will it mean a great deal to them, but they will likely return their gratitude in kind! With a simple “thanks”, you will be building a sense of gratitude and appreciation that can outlast the Holiday season and ultimately embed itself into your company’s culture.


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Friday, November 18, 2016

Lean Quote: Shine A Light On What Is Right!

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.

"The secret is to catch him doing things right. Shine a light on what is right.  It's also very important to catch him doing things better, praise progress (something better) immediately and specifically." — Dave Yardley, Shamu's trainer from Sea World

This is a great quote that comes from a story about training Shamu to do those big tricks you see at Sea World. We aren't training killer whales but this still relates to business. Our job is to build positive relationships, increase people's energy, and improve performance on the job.

Try these steps next time you catch someone doing something right:

1. Pull the person aside immediately after you observe his or her good perfomance - or as soon as practically possible.

2. Tell the person what he or she did right.  Be specific.

3. Tell the person what his or her good performane will contribute to the kind of teamwork that we want to create.

4. Let the person know how good you feel about him or her.  Let your pride and appreciation show.

5. Stop for a moment to let it sink in.

6. Encourage the person to keep it up.  Ask how you can assist him or her to keep it up.  Offer the assistance that you can.

and if you want to create a new culture of doing things right

7.  When you receive praise, respond with a "Thank You."  Encourage the person who "caught you doing things right" to keep noticing. Try to return the favor!

Continually pay attention and observe to catch people doing something right or even better and praise that specifically and immediately.  When attention goes to what is right, energy flows to continue doing more of what is right.  When it's incorrect or mistakes occur, redirect or rechannel the energy so that you can praise progress or what's right specifically and immediately.

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