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Monday, February 28, 2011

Lean Roundup #21 – February, 2011

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of February, 2011.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

Lean Office: 5s in Action! – JC Gatlin shares some lean office example in 5S that everyone can benefit from.

Let's have a meeting to kill meetings – Bryan Zeigler offers some tips on improving meetings and a 5 why analysis with countermeasures on the purpose of a production meeting.

Leading Indicators – Bruce Hamilton shares some leading indicators that an organization has a systemic issue with quality improvement.

Pathway to Creating a "Lean Culture" – Tracey Richardson explains a means to implement Lean by separating the people side from the tool side of Lean.

What happened to materials management? – Bill Waddell explores the negative impact on supply chain from forecasting and the need to bring in Lean thinking.

The Leadership Advantage - Brad Schultz explains three key competencies for leadership in a Lean environment.

Toyota's Response Demonstrate the Toyota Way at its Best – Jeffery Liker reviews the recent Toyota recall crisis and explains what they did well.

Lean Mindsets for Healthcare – Mark Graban explains the thinking needed in Healthcare in a Lean environment which basically defines Lean itself.

Does Technology Actually Provide "Solutions"? – Brian Buck shares some points to consider when looking a technology driven solutions.

Lean Six Sigma and Business as Usual – Pete Abilla explains how kaizen can be business as usual.

Going to Gemba – Pascal Dennis explains how leaders can make more time to go to the Gemba.

What does the word "Lean" mean to you or your Company? – Tracey Richardson explains in her own words what Lean means.

The 8th Waste is a Waste – Matt Wrye talks about the eight waste in terms of respect for people by engaging your work force.

3 Questions to Add to Your Change Management Toolkit – Liz Guthridge says to ask What?, So What?, and What Next? to improve your communication planning and effectiveness.

Everyday Lean: Find the Answer Not the Blame – Susie Sterling talks about the necessary mindset that we never know enough and we must continuously learn.

How Your Employee Performance Management Practices can Benefit from and Contribute to a Lean Culture – Sean Conrad writes about leveraging lean thinking principles in your performance review process can support your Lean culture.

Saw-Muri Warriors – Bruce Hamilton shares a story about mental or human muri to help you understand how to find and eliminate it.

Visual Controls – Tom Southworth writes about how some companies have an overreliance on visual controls where improvement could be used.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Lean Quote: Catching People Doing Things 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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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Death By Meeting

At work our library is near our cafeteria so while heating up lunch I often sneak over to the library to browse. The other day this book title "Death By Meeting" caught my eye. While meetings are an essential to effective management of organizations, they seem to be a source of tension, struggle and ineffectiveness.

Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business (J-B Lencioni Series)Death By Meeting (2004) is the work of Patrick Lencioni, a business consulting guru with a number of top-selling books to his credit. Most of the book is a fable about a video game company with really good people and really bad meetings. I’ll skip over the story and get right to the take home points. Lencioni highlights two problems with meetings.The first problem is this: meetings are boring. And the second is like it: meetings are ineffective. Meetings, says Lencioni, are boring because they lack drama. They are ineffective because they lack contextual structure.

The key to making meetings more engaging - and less boring - lies in identifying and nurturing the natural level of conflict that should exist. Leaders of meetings need to put the right issues - often the most controversial ones - on the table at the beginning of their meetings. By demanding that their people wrestle with those issues until resolution has been achieved, they can create genuine, compelling drama, and prevent their team from checking out.

Unfortunately, no amount of drama will matter if leaders don't create the right context for their meetings.  The single biggest structural problem facing leaders of meetings is the tendency to throw every iss in the same meeting.  Desperate to minimise wasted time, leaders decide that they will have one big staff meeting once a week or every other week.  This just ensures the meeting will be ineffectice and unsatisfying.  There should be different meetings for different purposes:

If you add up all of the time that these meetings require it amounts to approximately twenty percent of a leader's time. I am sure leaders spend more time than this in meetings.  But they need to ask themselves a basic question. "What is more important than meetings?" If they say "sales" or "e-mail" or "product design," then maybe they should reconsider their roles as leaders and go back to an individual contributor position. If you think about it, a leader who hates meetings is a lot like a surgeon who hates operating on people, or a symphony conductor who hates concerts. Meetings are what leaders do, and the solution to bad meetings is not the elimination of them, but rather the transformation of them into meaningful, engaging and relevant activities.

If you haven't read Death By Meeting I think you will enjoy it and hopefully get a better sense on how to improve your meetings. The approach in this book is similiar to the tiers of meetings that David Mann describes in Creating a Lean Culture. In my experience this works.  Mettings help us communicate but that doesn't mean just getting together is productive. The goal is to create a system that makes our meetings effective and efficient.

To get started right away there are a number of resources provided by the author at The Table Group including:

  The Meeting Model
  Tactical Meeting Guide
  Death By Meeting Quiz
  Tips on Effective Meetings
  Death By Meeting Excerpt
  Reading Guide

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Day Job as a Lean Practitioner at OFS

Many of you may wonder what I do when I am not writing blog posts. Well, I practice what I preach. I am a Lean Practitioner (Lean Manufucturing Leader) at OFS Speciatly Photonics Division. I am responsible for teaching Lean thinking principles and countermeasure techniques while ensuring we continue our journey in pursuit of "True North". Below is a short introduction to OFS.

We're OFS Specialty Photonics Division, a leader in developing fiber optic solutions for the medical, industrial, telecommunications, government, aerospace, defense, and transportation industries. The OFS name may be new to you . . . but we have a hundred-year heritage of technology innovation . . . one of the world's oldest and largest body of expertise in optical fiber solutions.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Adopt Seventeen Principles to Remove Wasted Movement

Motion waste occurs when people move without adding value to the product.  This type of waste includes all the motion in operator's bodies that occurs when they process materials:  foot and hand motion, and torso movements such as bending, reaching, lifting, and so on.  Hiroyuki Hirano defined waste as "everything that is not absolutely essential."  To remove this waste, the action itself may need to be improved or the setup of the operations might need to be improved.

The rule of thumb for minimizing movement is to begin with the largest motions first - the arms, legs, and torso - and then gradually focus on smaller and smaller types of motion - hands, wrists, fingers, and head.  Hiroyuki Hirano offers seventeen principles for identifying and reducing waste during operations:

1. Start and stop manual operations using both hands in unison.
2. Keep arm motions simultaneous and symmetrical, the way you do when you are swimming - arms move in opposite directions with the same timing.
3. Minimize leg and torso motions.  In assembly lines workers must often walk to the parts storage shelves and then back to the assembly area, or at the very least must  twist to lift from a nearby cart or shelf, or reach to a shelf above the work area.
4. Use gravity instead of muscle power.
5. Avoid motions that zigzag or turn sharply.
6. Make motions rhythmical.  Find a rhythm for your work that is easy to maintain over time.
7. Ensure good posture and easy, fluid motions.  Bending over to work on a low table of straining to work on a surface that is too high for you will make your work harder and lead to other types of waste.
8. Use the feet, too; for instance, to operate foot switches to lift parts or move materials to and away from you.
9. Keep all necessary materials and tools close to you and in front of you.
10. Place materials and tools in their order of use.  You can only do this if 5S is implemented and only a few parts are fed to your work area at a time.
11. Use inexpensive sources of power to feed materials through the operation.
12. Keep work tables and equipment at operator height.
13. Make the work environment comfortable.
14. Let the feet work for switching operations, keeping the hands free.
15. Minimize tool variety by integrating tool functions wherever possible.
16. All materials and parts should be easy to pick up, below chest level, and containers should be within easy reach.
17. All handles and knobs should be in convenient locations and in easy-to-grasp shapes.  All handles and switches should be within easy reach without moving the torso.

This focus on body motion is not just about reducing cycle time and establishing production flow, though these are very important results of such improvement activities.  Most people rejoice when they discover ways to eliminate the need to lift heavy items or overreach for tools and materials in order to do their jobs.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Lean Quote: Small Improvements are a Sustainable Competitive Advantage

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.

"I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker." — Helen Keller

Many times I find a quote and write about how the quote teaches some Lean lesson.  But in this case I have a lesson for which I found a quote.  I'll talk a little more about towards the end.

A family member of mine works at a hospital that is just starting their Lean transformation. They have been at this organization for about 25 years in a traditional setting.  So this transformation is a big change.  My family member volunteered to get involved early on in the Lean training and initiatives.  I would like to think that I helped to create this curiosity with all my talk about Lean.  Nonetheless in a conversation the other day he was telling me about his first project.  So coming out of some Kaizen event training the teacher wants to see the student apply the training.  This is what most of us would expect.  Here comes the twist.  They want to see an improvement of $100,000.  My simple response was that is not Lean more L.A.M.E. (Lean As Misguidedly Executed).  Now I can understand that the leaders want to show that Lean will work and that obviously in the beginning these types of improvements are possible but this is not sustainable.

In the spirit of doing better, the smallest ideas are likely to be the easiest to adopt and implement. These improvements are sometimes called Point or Mini Kaizen. Making one small change is both rewarding to the person making the change and if communicated to others can lead to a widespread adoption of the improvement and the possibility that someone will improve on what has already been improved. There's no telling what might occur if this were the everyday habit of all team members.

One of the most counter intuitive facts about small ideas is that they can actually provide a business with more sustainable competitive advantages than big ideas. The bigger the ideas, the more likely competitors will copy or counter them. If new ideas affect the company's products or services, they're directly visible and often widely advertised.  And even if they involve behind-the-scenes improvements--say, to a major system or process--they're often copied just as quickly. That's because big, internal initiatives typically require outside sources, such as suppliers, contractors, and consultants, who sell their products and services to other companies, too.  Small ideas, on the other hand, are much less likely to migrate to competitors--and even if they do, they're often too specific to be useful.  Because most small ideas remain proprietary, large numbers of them can accumulate into a big, competitive advantage that is sustainable. That edge often means the difference between success and failure.

In a Lean enterprise a strategy of making small, incremental improvements every day, rather than trying to find a monumental improvement once or twice a year equates to a colossal competitive advantage over time and competitors cannot copy these compounded small improvements.

Now back to the quote.  While trying to find a quote to embody this thinking I came across this quote by Helen Keller.  It expresses the importance of being modest and courteously respectful in our work.  Greatness comes not from from a large effort of a few but rather from many tiny efforts from everyone.  Helen Keller may not have been a Lean thinker but she certainly reflects Lean thinking in this phrase.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Leading Change

Okay, this isn't a new book but nonetheless one I recently read.  Actually, when it first came out I wasn't even in manufacturing and I am not sure it would have made sense.  But having been part of a number of Lean transformations including leading them myself when I saw this book on the shelf I felt compelled to read it.

Leading ChangeLeading Change was first published in 1996 by John P. Kotter after writing an article 1994 called "Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail."  John a professor from Harvard Business School has been studying change for over 30 years.  His research led to the identification of eight common errors to transformation efforts.

Some of the most common mistakes when transforming an organization are: (1) Allowing too much complacency, (2) Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition, (3) Underestimating the power of vision, (4) Under communicating the vision by a factor of 10x-100x, (5) Permitting obstacles to block the new vision, (6) Failing to create short-term wins, (7) Declaring victory too soon, (8) Neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture.  He found these errors amplify in a rapid moving competitive world.  John explains that these errors can be mitigated and possibly avoided with the eight stage change process

The 8 Steps of Successful Change and Common Mistakes
Step Lessons from successes
Lessons from mistakes
Establish a sense of urgency.
• Examine market and competitive realities.
• Identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities.
Not establishing enough sense of urgency.
• Transformation programs require aggressive co-operation by many individuals.
• Without motivation, people won't help and the effort goes nowhere.
Form a powerful guiding coalition team.
• Assemble a group with enough energy and authority to lead the change effort.
• Encourage this group to work together as a team.
Not creating a powerful guiding coalition.
• Companies that fail in this phase usually underestimate the difficulties of producing change and thus the importance of a guiding coalition with energy and authority.
Create a clear vision expressed simply.
• Create a vision to direct the change effort.
• Develop strategies for achieving the vision.
Lacking a clear vision.
• Without a clear and sensible vision, a transformation effort can easily dissolve into a list of confusing and incompatible projects that can take the organization in the wrong direction or nowhere at all.
Communicate the vision.
• Use every possible means to communicate the new vision and strategies.
• Teach new behaviors using the example of the guiding coalition team.
Under-communicating the vision.
• Transformation is impossible unless hundreds or thousands of people are willing to help, often to the point of making short-term sacrifices.
Empower others to act on the vision.
• Get rid of obstacles to change.
• Change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision.
• Encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions.
Not removing obstacles to the new vision.
• Obstacles can be: the organizational structure, narrowly defined job categories, compensation or
performance-appraisal systems, and, worst of all, bosses who refuse to change
and make demands that are inconsistent with the overall change vision.
Plan for and creating short-term wins.
• Plan for visible performance improvements.
• Create those improvements.
• Recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements.
Not systematically planning and creating short-term wins.
• Planning and creating short-term wins is different from hoping for short-term wins. The former is active, the latter passive.
• Actively look for ways to obtain clear performance improvements, establish goals in the yearly planning system, achieve the objectives, and reward the people involved with recognition, promotions, or money.
Consolidate improvements and producing still more change.
• Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don't fit the vision.
• Hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision.
• Reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents.
Declaring victory too soon.
• Instead of declaring victory, leaders of successful change efforts use the credibility afforded by the short-term wins to tackle even bigger problems.
Institutionalize the new approaches.
• Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and corporate success.
• Develop ways to ensure leadership development and succession.
Not anchoring changes in the corporation's culture.
• Change sticks when it becomes the way we do things around here, when it becomes part of the corporate culture.
• Until new behaviors are rooted in social norms and shared values, they are subject to degradation as soon as the pressure for change is removed.

John stresses that successful change of any magnitude goes through all 8 stages, usually in sequence.  The progression is necessary because without a solid base you almost always get problems.  And without the follow-through that takes place in step 8, you never get to the finish line and make change stick.

Having led transformations myself this echoes the process I have used without necessarily knowing it.  I learned a lot from this book and it has caused me to reflect on those transformations.  The book is full of examples and practical advice everyone can use.

Although Kotter's book first came out in 1996, it's as relevant today as it was then.  This is a fantastic book on what it takes to lead change. The examples of the eight mistakes of managing change as well as the eight-step change process can be extremely helpful in learning how to lead change throughout one's organization.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Card Factory Video - Teaching our Youth

I know Christmas is over but there is still something to learn from making Christmas cards.  The following video explains Lean thinking principles from kids making cards for their families.

Now this video is not too different than many others that explain the difference between the traditional push and a better pull manufacturing process. But I liked the use of children in this video. I think it is particularly important that we teach our young people in this better way of thinking. If we could successful educate the next generations of leaders we may imagine a time when a traditional push operation is a thing of the past.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Empowerment Can’t Be Willed

An empowered workforce is something that is highly desirable in an improvement culture.  Unfortunately, just because we want it, it doesn't make it so, as this comic highlights. 

Leaders of the organization must create the conditions for empowerment.  Here are 10 ways to be better at empowerment:

  1. Be clear in your communication. When you express goals or explain projects, be sure the employees really understand what you are asking for. If the goals are unclear then the employees are not sure what they are being asked to do.
  2. Eliminate barriers, restrictions and layers of protocol. The more steps, individuals, policies and departments employees have to work through to get results, the more frustrating and disempowering things actually are. Use cross-training, multi-department teams and projects, and trainings to help break down the boundaries and barriers that may exist between employees and departments.
  3. Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done. Ask for employee suggestions for other ways of getting the task or project accomplished. Listen and be willing to really hear the employees' comments. Employees hate to have no input and be told exactly how to perform their jobs, leaving no creativity.
  4. Show you have trust in your employees. Allow them to make mistakes as a form of learning. Show that it is really OK to make mistakes. Trust that people have the right intentions and will make the right decisions, even if they are different than your own. Let them know you really support their decisions.
  5. Encourage and reward improvement and innovation. Employees may be afraid to offer insight and new ways of doing things because the company culture doesn't support them. If you really want to empower employees, you'll need to create a company culture that encourages and rewards innovation. You may start by asking individuals to look for ways to improve efficiency, output, safety, etc. in the tasks they perform every day.
  6. Listen. Listen. Listen. Do you do most of the talking? Be open to communication and ask your employees questions. They can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process.
  7. Share leadership's vision. Help people feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves or their job by sharing your company's overall vision. Tell your employees the most important goals for your organization and let them know of the progress towards those goals
  8. Allow employees to actively participate in team and company goals.  Look for every opportunity to include employees at every level of the organization, in being active participants. Employees can't be involved with one-way directives.
  9. Be a coach. The best way to empower employees is not to manage them. Coach them to success. This is a process of developing their skills and providing them specific feedback to meet high standards. Employees want to be on the same team with their bosses. Be their coach and lead the team to success!
  10. Communication.--The key to empowerment is communication. Give every employee equal and direct access to information. Many companies have developed a trickle-down style of communication that alienates those employees who may not be "in the loop." The more informed employees are and the more communication is open, honest, direct and complete, the more likely employees are to feel empowered and connected to the daily operations and overall goals of their company.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Lean Quote: Room for Improvement

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.

"There's always room for improvement, you know-it's the biggest room in the house." — Louise Heath Leber

This quote is quite appropriate given Toyota's depcition on their business improvement system as a house.

I believe we can always find improvement in what we do.  For many it may not be easy to identify and eliminate wast because they haven't learned how.  These ten principles may help:

1.  Throw out all of your fixed ideas about how to do things.
2.  Think of how the new method will work - not how it won't.
3.  Don't accept excuses.  Totally deny the status quo.
4.  Don't seek perfection.  A 50 percent implementation rate is fine as long as it's done on the spot.
5.  Correct mistakes the moment they're found.
6.  Don't spend a lot of money on improvements.
7.  Problems give you a chance to use your brain.
8.  Ask "why?" at least five times until you find the root cause.
9.  Ten people's ideas are better than one person's.
10. Improvement knows no limit.

These principles will help you find waste.  The best way to learn them is to practice them.  And if your countermeasure doesn't improve the situation then just try another one.  Mistakes are a necessary part of the learning process in Lean.  A "can do" attitude makes a big difference when making improvment. Remember there is always room for improvement.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Edition #9

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature 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.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

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

Lean Tip #121 - Improve the quality of your meetings in terms of the experience and outcome with these 5 tips. 

Try these 5 tips to improve your meetings:

1.Know the purpose of your meeting. What are we here to do?
2.Clarify what is at stake. What is the price of having a bad meeting?
3.Hook them from the outset. How are you going to engage people?
4.Set aside enough time. It is not about whether you end on time but wether you meet the purpose.
5.Provoke conflict. Seek out opposing views to get all the ideas.

Sourcre Death By Meetings by Patrick Lencioni

Lean Tip #122 - Use the daily check-in meeting to set clear priorities and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

The Daily Check-in (Huddle or Stand-up) meeting requires:

•Members get together face to face
•Standing only, no sitting
•Lasts 5 minutes
•Report on short term (or daily) acitivities.

This help avoid confusion on priorities, keeps things from falling through the cracks, and hels eliminate the need for unnecessary and time consuming emails.

Lean Tip #123 - Start with the lightening round for your weekly tactical meetings.

The lightening round consists of a quick around the table reporting session where everyone indicates their top 2-3 priorities for the week. This should take each person no more than 1 minute to describe what is on their respective plates.

Lean Tip #124 - Your strategic project meetings need to focus one or two critical topics.

Strategic meeting are used to dive into critical issues with more detail. Putting too many items on the agenda dilutes the the quality of debate around the most critical ones. Allow enough time per topic for comfortable engaging open ended conversation and debate.

Lean Tip #125 - An important aspect of running effective meetings is insisting that everyone respects the time allotted.

Start the meeting on time, do not spend time recapping for latecomers, and, when you can, finish on time. Whatever can be done outside the meeting time should be. This includes circulating reports for people to read beforehand, and assigning smaller group meetings to discuss issues relevant to only certain people.

Lean Tip #126 - To learn more about people's goals and values, find out what matters to them.

Goals and values are the internal motives and values that drive behavior. Help employees clarify thier personal goals and values. Possible questions to ask are:

•What do you value and care about most?
•What is important to you in your work and your career?
•What are your career interests and aspirations?
•What gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction and reward?
•What gives you the least amount of satisfaction? Why?

Lean Tip #127 - Connect individuals' development priorities to current and future organization needs.

Share your expectations and the organization's standards or expectations for current and future roles. Success factors comprise the expectations regarding performance and behavior relative to current and future roles and responsibilities, organizational and team objectives, and market and business challenges. Information you might share:

•Clear expectations of performance for the person's current and possible future roles, including skill requirements, required experiences, and educational needs.
•The mission and strategic plan of your organization.
•Pressing issues and goals that face your organization, including internal and external perspectives about industry trends and competition.
•Capabilities in greatest demand in your organizaion, and which of them are expected of this person and in the future.

Lean Tip #128 - If you want to assess someone's abilities all you have to do is ask.

Ask people to describe their abilities. Abilities include their view of their capabilities and performance, especially in relation to what is required of them and what they want to do. Possible questions to ask are:

•How do you view your performance and capabilities?
•What skills are your strength? In what areas are you most likely to offer you expertise to others?
•Where do you need to improve? In what areas do you turnn to others for assistance?

Lean Tip #129 - Give your employees opportunities for them to assess themselves and others.

Help people understand their strengths and development needs by providing opportunities for them to assess themselves and others. Decide on common performance standards so everyone knows what is ecpected. Ask people to develop performance standards for some of their responsibilities. Talk with people in HR to get help from experts; it is not as simple as it looks.

Lean Tip #130 - Create coaching plans for each employee.

Development planning is more successful when the person's manager or coach is invloved. A coaching plan provides a vehicle for organizing what you need to do to help your people. The coaching and development process need to work together.

Lean Tip #131 - Achieving a zero-defect goal requires the implementation of 2 principles.

Two principles are necessary to achieve a zero-defect goal:

1) Visualization
When defects are found, the production line is stopped. The defects are brought to the foreground so that everyone can learn from them.

2) Five Why's
The true cause of defects must be pursured thoroughly and eliminated through continuous improvement.

Lean Tip #132 - Sales forecast lead to overproduction which is wasteful.

Sales forecasts determine the intensity of production. Production takes place under an assumption that every item can be sold in the future, even if they remain in inventory for a while. In a Lean system, market demand determines the necessary items and quantities to produce.

Lean Tip #133 - Not producing items properly can lead to inventory which is wasteful.

It is considered wasteful to:

•Produce items that are assumed to sell
•Produce items in less time than needed
•Produce more items than needed

Overproduction can lead to various wastes other than maintaining inventories, such as an increase in WIP, waste of movement, and waste of transportation.

Lean Tip #134 - Don't give up before you try.

If you think you cannot do it before you even try, you may miss some of life's greatest opportunities. When you have a positive attitude you will be surprised at how much is actually possible to achieve. Always try it first.

Lean Tip #135 - Don't teach your employees everything, let them realize on their own.

Create an environment where your employees are always encouraged to formulate their own solutions through a trial and error process. Take time to guide them through the process on step at a time. If you make all the arrangement for them, they will simply do what they are told and stop participating in the problem solving.

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