Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lean Roundup #18 – November, 2010

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of November, 2010.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

The 18 Principles of Lean Leadership – Jeff Hajek shares 18 principles to guide you when leading in a Lean environment.

You Can't Buy Flow – Bill Waddell explains why the layout can be the biggest constraint to flow and it is really about cycle time not distance saved.

Don't Call HR Yet! – Brian Buck says you should ask why the standardized work can't be followed before jumping to discipline.

6 Ways to Ensure Fear Doesn't Win – Ron Pereira provides several strategies to turn fear into desire.

How do you know when to do an A3 and when to just solve the problem – Tracey Richardson explains 4 categories of problems to determine when to just do it and when to document the thinking process.

Three things to check during a gemba walk – Jon Miller says there are 3 items to look for on ever visit to the Gemba: Standardized Work, Kanban, and Hour-by-Hour board.

The Art of Blind Sudoku – Bill Waddell explains the colossal waste of time that the budgeting process is.

Avoid Charting Performance Measures in Confusing and Misleading Ways – Mark Graban explains the importance of representing data properly.

Lean = Kaizen + Respect – Michael Balle teaches what the concept of respect for people means operationally.

A3 Problem Solving Process – Michael Sinocchi shares the biggest mistake of people doing A3's is that of jumping to solutions before understanding the problem.

Service Design: Customer Experience – Pete Abilla teaches the point of designing for service from the customer's point of view with a backyard example.

Assessing "Respect for People" on a Gemba Walk – Jon Miller follows up a comment by Bob Emiliani on focusing on respect for people on a Gemba walk with what to look for.

Respect for People – Art Smalley answers the Respect for People question with 7 experiences and interpretations of this principle.

Lean and Six Sigma - You Can't Serve Two Masters – Mark Hamel says since you can't serve two masters you should define one based on the principles of operational excellence.

Aim Your 5 Why Well! – Bryan Zeigler explains 3 mistakes when asking the 5 why's of root cause analysis.

Muda, Mura, Muri – Tom Southworth reminds us in our zeal to root out Muda we must not forget about Mura and Muri.

A Culture of Continuous Improvement - Ana Guzman explains what is needed for an organization to continuously seek opportunities for improvement.

How Many Different Types of A3s are there? – Tracey Richardson describes 4 different types of A3 and when to use them.

SMED Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – Matt Wrye has a 3 part post on quick changeover that will help start SMED in your operation.

Warehouse Management Processes – Pete Abilla explains the order fulfillment operation processes.

Is Self Checkout Lean? – Evan Durant uses the self checkout line to explain Lean concepts.


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Post: Creation vs Management

Today I am pleased to share a guest post from my friend David Piacitelli.  David is the president of Top Line Systems, a company that focuses on the next generation sales organization for manufacturing companies.  He is a fellow AME member and supports the Northeast Region Board to share best practicesWith David's sales background he brings a unique perspective of the voice of the customer to our region.  You can see this from his post.

To create is difficult. To manage is difficult.

To do both together can be downright impossible. The bottom line is, a company needs both to grow. As with my other diatribes, I know that this topic can apply to a range of activities at work and in life, but as usual, I will focus on its application in the sales world.

O.k., we all know the formal definition of "creation" and of "management", so I won't spend valuable copy space on that; instead, I want draw your attention to how each plays a role in growth of sales and growth of business.

Regardless of the size of your business, the need for both creation and management is there. As a business owner, manager or employee, we initially focus our time on creation. As the job or business grows, more time shifts toward management of the stuff that has been created and we inevitably feel the tug between the two. Which is more important? If we don't create the deals, then we will have nothing to manage and if we don't manage the deals that we have created, we will always be creating and never managing.

This is a very straightforward concept, I know, but consider how this simple choice can impacts an organization's effectiveness? How do you manage the creation process in your business?

Here is my premise - selling is about creation, not about management. This could get really convoluted, so I am going to pose a scenario that illustrates the point that I am trying to make:

Every company (regardless of size) can point to a required growth metric. It could be dollars, it could be numbers of parts, or it could be numbers of customers.

Most companies dispatch their sales effort in a direction aimed at delivering against the growth metric.

Many companies find that they produce a result, just not the one that they aimed to produce.

There are a million different excuses that answer the "why", but only one practical explanation - too much focus on managing, not enough focus on creation. Here's what I mean - if a sales process allows time for creation, but uses the same resources to manage what has been created, guess what happens? Yes, the creation process stops, the created opportunities get managed (see the bottleneck possibilities?), the predictable, repeatable statistics of selling take over and you end up with an accurate close percentage on too small a number of opportunities.

It is only until you factor in time that the true impact of the conflict becomes apparent. I realize that this statement is vague, so let me throw out a statistic that you can use to measure against - the AVERAGE sales cycle for ANY business is 12-18 months from opportunity creation to realized revenue (if you work on complex, long-term projects, you know that the numbers are higher).

Always remember, the sale is the result, not the process.



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Friday, November 26, 2010

Lean Quote: Thank You

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.


"Remember to say thank you." — Barbara Gray

Thank you may be among the first words our parents teach us, but as we get older we seem to forget how to say them. Many managers usually recognize the major achievements--they celebrate the completion of a successful project, they honor an employee of the month. But how often do managers recognize the little steps their employees complete along the way?

Research has shown that recognition and appreciation is the top driver of employee engagement. 
Perhaps it seems elementary, but if you want employees who are fully engaged, you need to ensure they are recognized when they do great work and that they know you appreciate their contributions to the organization.
 
Employees need to be thanked…a lot. So says “guru of thank you” Bob Nelson, author of the bestselling 1001 Ways to Reward Employees—and he should know. Bob said, “The number one reason people leave their jobs today is that they don’t feel recognized for the job they’re doing.” We have all heard the adage “you get what you reward.” So if what you want is more outstanding work from an employee, say thank you the very next time that employee performs an iota of outstanding work.

The best recognition is thoughtful, happens daily, and has a personal touch. Even better, it's usually free.  Demonstrate appreciation!  Write a note, take them to lunch, acknowledge the work in a staff meeting…whatever seems right.  Just remember to say thank you.

 
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Friends

Thanksgiving is a time
For reviewing what we treasure,
The people we hold dear,
Who give us so much pleasure.

Without you as my friend,
Life would be a bore;
Having you in my life
Is what I’m thankful for.

By Joanna Fuchs

I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for reading, following, and supporting A Lean Journey Blog.  You make sharing my thoughts more rewarding than I would have imagined.


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lean Product Development Process

Last week I wrote about my experience at CONNSTEP's Manufacturing and Business Conference.  I had the opportunity to present on Lean Product Development at this year's conference.  I wanted to share my presentation with everyone.


A Lean Product Development Process comprises 3 basic elements: (1) driving waste out of the product development process, (2) improving the way projects are executed with stage-gate A3 management process, and (3) visualizing the product development process.


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Learning Lean Through Making Coffee Replayed

Earlier this month Jeff Hajek and I hosted a new learning experience where we combined a radio show format with a webinar.  In our first show we used the process of making coffee to explain various Lean concepts.  Every day examples like this that we can all relate to can make the learning more effective. 

Below are several video segments from our first show "Learning Lean Through Making Coffee".









If you would like to use this presentation to teach some lean lessons to your team you can find it below:
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Lean Quote: Team Recognition is about We's not I's

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 ratio of 'We's' to 'I's' is the best indicator of the development of a team." — Lewis D Eigen, Executive Vice President, University Research

Few issues in business today are as challenging and critical as knowing how best to recognize teams.  The task of recognizing teams differs in many respects from individual recognition, and this presents a dilemma.  In recognizing a team en masse, a manager runs the risk of alienating the team members who contributed most to the team's work, while reinforcing the slack behavior of team members who contributed little or nothing to the team's efforts. 

Because there are more factors to consider, planning team recognition can be a little more involved than planning individual recognition.  The key is simply to get started; don't make team recognition more complicated than it needs to be.  Here are 10 ways to praise and recognize teams:

1.  Have a manager pop in at a project team's first meeting to express appreciation for the members' involvement.
2.  Open the floor for team members to praise anyone at the beginning or end of a meeting.
3.  When a group member presents an idea or suggestion, encourage other team members to thank the person for his or her contributed.
4.  Create symbols of a team's work, such as T-shirts or coffee cups with a team or company motto or logo printed on them.
5.  Hold a "praise barrage," where team members write down and share things they like about another member of the team.
6.  Assign one member of the team the job of creating and presenting an award for another member of the team.
7.  Alternate the responsibility for team recognition among different team members each week or at each meeting.
8.  Host a refreshments gathering, a potluck, or a special breakfast or lunch to celebrate interim or final results.
9.  Ask an upper manager to attend a "bragging session" with the team, during which the group shares its achievements, and team members are thanked for their specific contributions.
10.  Write letters to every team member at the conclusion of a project thanking them for their contribution, and include a copy in their personnel file.

Team recognition works when it is immediate, sincere, specific, based on performance, and comes from employees' immediate manager or from other highly regarded people in the workplace.

"It's amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." - Sign in Boston College locker room

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lean Tips Edition #5

For my Facebook fans you have probably already seen this. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I started a new feature which I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.


Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #61 - Don't make 5S a Stand-alone Program if You Want to Flow
Doing 5S is liberationg.  We have all experienced that feeling after cleaning the basement or garage after  a year of accumulating stuff.  But 5S is just one tool that enables stability that enables flow.   Well organized and sparkling clean waste is still waste.  Getting bogged down in 5S can be an avoidance pattern - avoiding the hard work of thinking about how to create flow and solve the real root cause problems inhibiting flow.

Lean Tip #62 - The Paradox of Inventory - It may be preferable to substitute one form of waste for another
One idea that is difficult to grasp is that in Lean systems inventory may be useful (at least in the short term).  We all know that inventory is one of the eight forms of waste, and therefore should be eliminated.  In fact, untill processes are capable, the careful use of inventory may be advantageous.  One paradox of the eight wastes is that it may be preferable to substitute one form of waste for another.

Lean Tip #63 - Don't Seek Immediate Perfection
Perfection is futile.  To be sure, perfection is the goal but it can not be achieved in one single initiative.

The problem in the real world is that nothing is perfect. It sounds obvious, but it is not quite as obvious.  Shoot for better, 80% better.

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the benefit comes from 20% of the work. 

The last 20% of benefit (the perfect) requires 4 times more work. Often people believe perfection (100% benefit) is only slightly more expensive/difficult than the good (80% benefit). That isn't true.

Lean Tip #64 - The most important job of a leader is to develop people which includes future leaders
Everything about the

•Carefully selecting leaders
•Mentoring potential leaders by effective leaders
•Providing opportunities to challenge people to allow leaders to emerge
•Providing leaders the support and tools to be effective

Lean Tip #65 - Use the concept of heijunka in your problem solving to increase the likelihood of meeting desired results
Larger, long term countermeasures have a tendency of not being implemented.  Breaking these countermeasures into smaller increments is essentially the concept of heijunka.  Divide one month items into smaller daily increments or further segment to hourly increments.  In this way adjustments can be made throughout the day based on the frequency of checking the status.  Utilization of this leveling principle for problem solving greatly increases the likelihood of producing the desired results.

Lean Tip #66 - Expand on your library of printed literature to include standards
Standard work and visual factory elements together often form the language of an organization.  We often use a number of standard forms or templates.  Create a library of these standards with easy access to promote further standardization.  This may include forms, methods of labeling,  definition of floor markings,  and other visual identification methods.

Lean Tip #67 - Don't stop at the first workable solution
As humans we have a bias toward a particular solution usually that of our own.  We can make mistakes by jumping to solutions and thinking we solved the problem.  Failure to deeply explore alternatives can lead to a weak solution.  While it is important to consider as many solutions as possible it is not advantageous to pursue ideas without merit.

Lean Tip #68 - Clean to improve the performance of a machine not its appearance.
You clean to improve a machine's performance not its appearance.

Clean to Inspect
Inspect to Detect
Detect to Correct

A better looking piece of equipment is just a side benefit.

Lean Tip #69 - It is important to distinguish between actual uncertainty and self-created uncertainty with your supply chain.
There are three basic types of uncertainty which have a negative impact on any process with your supply chain.

Demand uncertainty - This type is related to the marketplace that is what the customer orders.

Conversion or Throughput uncertainty - This is any type of process uncertainty that hits throughput, such as producing defects, machine stoppages and breakdowns, and long changeovers.

Supply uncertainty - This type is related to the delivery of materials and components.

In addition to these basic types of uncertainty it is important to distinguish between actual uncertainty (i.e. caused by the end customer) and self-created uncertainty (i.e. created by poor coordination in the supply chain).


Lean Tip #70 - Spend no more than ten minutes planning your day for a 13 1/2 month calendar.
Planning each day will likely yield at least one hour more of productivity each day.  If you have one more productive hour each day, 365 days per year, you will have an additional 45 eight-hour days.  This is called the 13 1/2-month calendar.

Lean Tip #71 - Create opportunities to showcase your employees.
If you want to encourage employee to participate in improvements and empower them to make those improvements you need to recognize their effort and achievement.  Create an area in you facility to show off employees and their improvement activities.  You will be surprised by the buzz this creates.  Others will want to show off their improvements.

Lean Tip #72 - Whenever possible, provide opportunities for employees to work in self-managed or self-directed work teams.
Allow these teams freedom to determine the best course of action for meeting the agreed-upon goals and objectives.  Employees will see first hand the results of their decisions and feel the pride of group achievement.

Lean Tip #73 - Find ways to acknowledge employees and their performance.
Recognition...feedback...praise...thank you...appreciation - these are all ways you can acknowledge employees and their performance.  Research indicates that the number one thing employees want it recognition.  Recognition can take the form of verbal praise, a thoughtful note, positive feedback during a review, a public announcement (at a meeting, in a company newsletter, or on the department bulletin board) that shares the accomplishment with other employees, managers, and company executives.

Lean Tip #74 - Variability in a production system will attack you
Variability in a production system will be buffered by some combination of inventory, capacity, or time.  In other words if you do not attack variation in your system it will attack you in terms of more inventory, less capacity, and longer cycle times.

Lean Tip #75 - Flow in a cell should be counter-clockwise.
No matter the shape of the cell (U-shaped, L-shaped, or straight through) the flow around the cell should be counter-clockwise.   This will facilitate the ease fo movement with the right hand.  It is also the natural way - think of athletic tracks, car racing, and horse racing.  Even the planets (except Venus) move counter-clockwise.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Start a New Direction: Learning From CONNSTEP's Conference

Last week I attended CONNSTEP's Manufacturing and Business Conference in Hartford, CT.  I presented on Lean Product Development which I highlighted in the an earlier post.  For those who were unable to attend the conference this year I wanted to share some of my own learning with you.

The conference held on Veteran's Day opened with veteran and author of You Can't Predict a Hero: From War to Wall Street, Leading in Times of Crisis Joeseph Grano, Jr.  He started by saying management has 4 elements: planning, organizing, controlling, and leading.  You can delegate the first three but not leading.  When there is a problem Joe says unfortunately many managers look to see who did it instead of finding a solution.  Leaders need to have an eternal optimism and understand the self interest of those around them. People always do what they are paid to do.  Therefore the strategy and compensation must be linked.  Joe explained a rule he called the 95/5 rule.  This is where 95% of the time you challenge his decisions constructively to improve and 5% of the time just listen to him in a crisis.  To be successful leaders must be client-centric and solution based.  Joe ended with a philosophy he uses in life and business.  With one hand reach for the sky, with your other hand lift up those around you, and together embrace and reflect.

From there I went to listen to Mark Graban talk about Lean at Hospitals.  Mark explained a common reservation healthcare providers have of blindly copying tools which could impact the quality of care.  He says Lean at it's best is a management system, culture, and philosophy not tools for those on the front line.  The pillars of continuous improvement and respect for people are equally important.  As we know being busy doesn't mean you add value.  But it is hard when you are in the weeds.  You must step back and look for waste.  It is not good enough to identify waste.  You must help them solve it otherwise they just get more frustrated.  Mark's key point to make Lean successful is to go see, ask why, and show respect.

Nick Wallick, had a presentation called "The Effects of an Undercover Boss" that caught my attention.  His presentation was about leadership and respect for people.  With a brief introduction around the show Undercover Boss it was clear that while this creates an opportunity to review the process and experience employees in action you shouldn't need to go undercover to do so.  Nick says you focus on people by asking "what are people doing for people?"  People don't leave jobs, people leave leaders so start by looking in the mirror.  The traditional employment model in many companies is about hiring and firing.  He questions what is between hire and fire.  What if people management was about hiring and retiring.  Nick shared six guidelines to start interacting with people positively:
- Look in the mirror
- Provide opportunities for people
- Ask people what they think
- See the value in people (what do they do outside of work)
- Set goals and communicate
- Take some responsibility for others
He finished with this final point: Continuous improvement is applied to processes, Opportunities are applied to people. 

Jamie Flinchbaugh was the afternoon keynote speaker with a discussion on culture change.  Culture is the beliefs, habits, and learned responses of an organization.  Lean is born not from seeing but from thinking.  Jamie explained the difference between a supportive leader who says go ahead and an engaged leader who does it with you.  There are 3 elements to changing behaviors: Learning which is mental, applying which is hands on, and reflecting which comes from the heart.  Learning is comprised of training, coaching, and a common language.  Coach the method or process not the solution.  Applying is about creating experiences for employees.  Reflection is the basis of setting a good example.  People make mistakes and when that happens you have 2 choices: hope no one notices or acknowledge your gaps.  Jamie's final point is that organizations don't change people do, change starts with you. 

One of the highlights of the conference for me was connecting with the many Lean advocates from the region.  This was also the first time I got to meet Mark and Jamie in person.  Here is a photo of some avid Lean bloggers (myself with Mark Graban, Jamie Flinchbaugh, and Tom Southworth) you will likely recognize.


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Friday, November 12, 2010

Lean Quote: Don't Tell How To Do It

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.


In honor of Veterans day I thought it would be appropriate to highlight a quote from a great military leader. George Smith Patton, Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II.

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." — George S. Patton

Unfortunately, ingenuity in many American corporations has gone the way of the hula-hoop. But intellectual capital is the name of the game these days - and it is the enlightened manager's duty to learn how to play. Only those companies will succeed whose people are empowered to think for themselves and respond creatively to the myriad of changes going on all around them. Simply put, managers must make the shift from manipulators to manifesters. They must learn how to coach their people into increasingly higher states of creative thinking and creative doing. They must realize that the root of their organization's problem is not the economy, not management, not cycle time or outsourcing, but their own inability to tap into the power of their workforce's innate creativity.

If you want to empower people, honor their ideas. Give them room to challenge the status quo. Give them room to move - and, by extension, move mountains. Why? Because people identify most with their ideas. "I think therefore, I am" is their motto. People feel good when they're encouraged to originate and develop ideas. It gives their work meaning, makes it their own, and intrinsically motivates.

Many managers, however, are so wrapped up in our own ideas that they rarely take the time to listen to others. Their subordinates know this and, consequently, rarely share their ideas with them. But it doesn't have to be this way. And it doesn't necessarily require a lot of time. Some time, yes. But not as much as you might think. Bottom line, the time it takes you to listen to the ideas of others is not only worth it - the success of your enterprise depends on it. Choose not to listen and you will end up frantically spending a lot more time down the road asking people for their ideas about how to save your business from imminent collapse. By that time, however, it will be too late. Your workforce will have already tuned you out.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a popular tool that helps you generate creative solutions to a problem.

It is particularly useful when you want to break out of stale, established patterns of thinking, so that you can develop new ways of looking at things. It also helps you overcome many of the issues that can make group problem-solving a sterile and unsatisfactory process.

A brainstorming session requires a facilitator, a brainstorming space and something on which to write ideas, such as a white-board a flip chart or software tool. The facilitator's responsibilities include guiding the session, encouraging participation and writing ideas down.

Brainstorming works best with a varied group of people. Participants should come from various departments across the organization and have different backgrounds. Even in specialist areas, outsiders can bring fresh ideas that can inspire the experts.

There are numerous approaches to brainstorming, but the traditional approach is generally the most effective because it is the most energetic and openly collaborative, allowing participants to build on each others' ideas.

Step by Step Guide

1. Review the rules of brainstorming with the entire group:
         No criticism, no evaluation, no discussion of ideas.
         There are no stupid ideas. The wilder the better.
         All ideas are recorded.
         Piggybacking is encouraged: combining, modifying,
         expanding others’ ideas.

2. Review the topic or problem to be discussed. Often it is best phrased as a “why,” “how,” or “what” question. Make sure everyone understands the subject of the brainstorm.

3. Allow a minute or two of silence for everyone to think about the question.

4. Invite people to call out their ideas. Record all ideas, in words as close as possible to those used by the contributor. No discussion or evaluation of any kind is permitted.

5. Continue to generate and record ideas until several minutes’ silence produces no more.

Things to Consider

• Judgment and creativity are two functions that cannot occur simultaneously. That’s the reason for the rules about no criticism and no evaluation.

• Laughter and groans are criticism. When there is criticism, people begin to evaluate their ideas before stating them. Fewer ideas are generated and creative ideas are lost.

• Evaluation includes positive comments such as “Great idea!” That implies that another idea that did not receive praise was mediocre.

• The more the better. Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the total number of ideas and the number of good, creative ideas.

• The crazier the better. Be unconventional in your thinking. Don’t hold back any ideas. Crazy ideas are creative. They often come from a different perspective.

• Crazy ideas often lead to wonderful, unique solutions, through modification or by sparking someone else’s imagination.

• Hitchhike. Piggyback. Build on someone else’s idea.

• When brainstorming with a large group, someone other than the facilitator should be the recorder. The facilitator should act as a buffer between the group and the recorder(s), keeping the flow of ideas going and ensuring that no ideas get lost before being recorded.

• The recorder should try not to rephrase ideas. If an idea is not clear, ask for a rephrasing that everyone can understand. If the idea is too long to record, work with the person who suggested the idea to come up with a concise rephrasing. The person suggesting the idea must always approve what is recorded.

• Keep all ideas visible. When ideas overflow to additional flipchart pages, post previous pages around the room so all ideas are still visible to everyone.

Evaluating Ideas

There are a number of decision-making tools for evaluating your ideas. One I prefer is the effort-impact grid for looking at the cost and benefit. Each idea is placed in one of the quadrants shown below, based on group assessment of the impact and effort required to implement the idea.


• Ideas placed in quadrant 1 are easy and cheap but produce minimal benefit. They are appropriate when they can be included in annual plans or address existing problems.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 2 are easy and cheap and produce significant benefit. They are easy to implement quickly.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 3 are difficult and expensive and produce minimal benefit. Ideas from this quadrant should generally be discarded.

• Ideas placed in quadrant 4 are difficult and expensive but will result in significant benefit. If these ideas are considered, appropriate time and resources should be made available for their exploration.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Hansei

Jill Knapp, a Delware native who provides training and consulting services for IT departments around the country, explains Hansei.  Hansei means self reflection in Japanese.

"Hansei" is one of the cornerstones of Japanese behavior and culture, and it's something we don't really do in America, mostly because we don't have a word in English for it.

"Hansei" is the act of being considerate, and understanding how your actions impact those around you... but it's more than that. People having loud conversations while walking past your bedroom window at 2AM do not hansei. People waiting to get to the front of the fast-food line before figuring out their order do not hansei. It's more than not being an idiot; it's reflecting on yourself and growing from that reflection. It's hard to explain, but explain it, I will! Oh yes!




I think the key point is that hansei is not about being sorry or declaring fault but rather acknowledging the other person's feelings or inconvenience.  It is about facing those uncomfortable truths.  Stop making excuses and accept responsibility.  As we already know people make mistakes. Be considerate to those around you.  Reflection is learning and learning is essential for improvement.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Lean Quote: A Good Attitude is a Choice

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 most important decision you make is to be in a good mood." — Voltaire

So much of what you can accomplish depends on your attitude.  One of the best ways to maintain otpimism is to have "a focus of hope."  This means having goals that you strive toward with the hope of creating better conditions for you and for those around you.
 
We know Lean is a the journey not a destination.  Have fun and remain optimistic in the pursuit of your goal.  Enjoy the journey.  Some people become so obessed with trying to achieve that they forget to have fun along the way. 
 
“We are not responsible for what happens out there, what others do or think. We are responsible only for how to choose to respond. The responsibility for us is ours.”  — Joy of Working by Dennis Waitley and Reni L. Witt

Below are several things you can do today to control your attitude.
  • Keep an open mind
  • Be “in the moment”
  • Trust your instinct
  • Train yourself to respond not react
  • Take a creative approach to living
  • Stay connected
Do you have the courage it takes to control your attitude in all situations?  Your accomplishment depends on it.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Tree Swing of Communication Failure

At a recent training class I was reminded of the importance of good communication with this notorious diagram.


The diagram illustrates the pitfalls of poor product design, or poor customer service, and the dangers of failing to properly listen to customers and interpret their needs. The tree swing also demonstrates the dangers of departmental barriers, and failures of departments to talk to each other, and to talk to customers. As such, the tree swing is perfect for training these areas of quality, communications, customer care and inter-departmental relations.

The people over at Businesballs.com have added several new tree swing pictures to the original collection.  Here are a couple:



I am sure many people and organizations can relate to this example.  This is why the voice of the customer and internal communications is so important. Remember the essence of communication means saying and hearing have the same message otherwise communication breaksdown.  As we say in Lean the signal or communication needs to be binary, clear, and direct.

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