Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lean Roundup #25 – June, 2011


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

Making Leader Standard Work Visual – Matt Wrye shares a visual management board for leader standard work.

The Iceberg that Sinks Performance – Dan Markovitz talks about how lean concepts and tools tie into time management and individual performance with a simple visual representation.

Lean Success – Art Smalley defines Lean Success in terms improving all types of processes AND concurrently obtaining actual results.

Lean is an Attitude – Michael Balle says that Lean is about an attitude and Lean success overall is a factor of how many people in the company acquire this attitude.

6 Lean Leadership Keys From The Toast Guy – Christian Paulsen shares 6 keys to Lean leadership from an article Bruce Hamilton, the Toast Kaizen guy, wrote.

6 Principles of Effective Lean – Steve Antonelli identified six principles that management must do to create a lasting and effective lean culture.

A War on Waste – Tom Southworth describes four important steps – planning, communicating, selecting, and sustaining – that will enable you to wage an effective war on waste on your way to becoming a Lean enterprise.

What Lean is Really All About – Jeff Hajek explains that Lean is more than a set of continuous improvement tools.

Now Let's Graduate to Lean 404 – Paul Levy shares some thoughts on Lean management and organizational leadership.

A Supervisor's Greatest Discovery – Bruce Hamilton shares a compelling story of a front line leader learning to see.

The Fourth S: An Inflection Point for Success – Evan Durant says the 4th S, standardization, is the glue the holds the first 3 together.

Highlight Problem Areas for Data Input – Matt Wyre shares a poka yoke for data input using a visual template.

10 Management Traps to Avoid While Launching Lean – Christian Paulsen explains 10 management traps and how they relate to Lean manufacturing.

What I Learned from Almost Winning the Shingo Prize – Jeff Hajek shares a great lesson learned experience from submitting for the Shingo Prize that everyone can learn from.

Jamie's Fables: The Peacock and The Thorn – Jamie Flinchbaugh takes a stab at writing his own fable repeated to exposing problems.

Introducing Dr. Les Muda: The World's First Lean Healthcare Comedian – Mark Graban provides a creative piece that pokes fun at some Lean stereotypes in healthcare.

How to Judge the Success of Lean? – Dan Jones explains that Lean success is measured by how much people have learnt so far and how ready they are to take the next leg of the journey.

Lean Pretenders – Bruce Hamilton writes about going beyond just appearing Lean and really getting Lean.

Continuous Improvement Projects: Expectations and Reflection – Kevin Gross talks about setting clear expectations and reflecting on your improvement projects.

My Continuous Improvement - Stand-up Desk – Matt Wrye shares his stand-up desk improvement which provides a good example for everyone.

What does it mean to Sustain? – Evan Durant takes a look at redefining what it means to sustain Lean efforts.

Line of Sight, Employee Engagement, and Daily Kaizen – Mark Hamel talks about how a Lean leader can facilitate greater engagement.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lean Thinking and Its Application to Safety

My friend and fellow blogger Dragan Bosnjak, an Italian Lean Practitioner, has published a new work in English.  It is called Lean & Safety and it is a translation of his Italian ebook Security Lean. This ebook talks about lean thinking and its application to work related safety. 
Entrepreneurs think that injuries happen, that they are inevitable. They are take as facts and entrepreneurs think about managing them only to limit economic loss for their company. That’s why they update all their OSHA compliance documents, they ask workers to sign on forms for participating in the training courses (so they can defend themselves in front of the law…), even though these courses are generic, made in conference room, and never describe real work situations and conditions that workers meet every day. And rarely they cause a real improvement of safety conditions inside the company.

They never think however, that practically all injuries can be avoided. How is that possible? Through a serious prevention management using lean thinking principles.You’ll find fundamentals to set safety culture inside your organization.

This ebook seeks to find answers to the following, continually recurring questions:

Why injuries happen?
How can we prevent them?
How can we manage prevention?


Lean and Safety is 57 pages long, and it reads in a couple of hours.  It consists on three chapters: 1) why injuries happen and how Lean can gain you time for safety and uncover waste 2) using Lean to prevent injuries by observing behaviors and problem solving and 3) the importance of leadership and it's influence on the organization' culture.


I think you will find the information in Dragan's book very valuable for creating a safe behavior culture based on Lean principles.  For a small fee you can purchase your very own ebook today on his sales page.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Improvement Kata Handbook

Recently, I reviewed Mike Rother's Toyota Kata book.  In doing so I came across the Toyota Kata website.  The site is dedicate to the practice of mastering the improvement kata as explained in his book.  



This website has a number of great resources at your disposal but probably the most notable is the Improvement Kata Handbook.  This is a great companion to the Toyota Kata book and can be used train and develop improvement kata thinking and acting in your company.

Mike Rother suggests a 3 step process to get started with improvement kata:



I would encourage you to thoroughly review this site and take advantage of this training material. I am sure you will find this information very informative and valuable along your journey. Keep learning, practicing, and sharing.



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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Role of a Lean Leader


My Friend Matt Wrye recently wrote about his role as an internal Lean consultant. He talked about the struggle some management places on Lean leaders between just doing it and influencing change. This got me thinking about my own experience, why this struggle occurs, and what the true role of a Lean leader should be.

Like Matt, I too have found myself in both types of roles. I believe this struggle with how the role is defined has a lot to do with the level of knowledge by management. So let me clarify by knowledge I mean true understand of Lean thinking as a business or management process that goes beyond improvement tools to capture employee development and engagement. I say management because it is often not just one person but a collection of managers that share a similar thinking and approach.

The level of involvement in Lean by the management team often shapes the role of the Lean leader. In my experience the less knowledgeable the management about REAL Lean (Bob Emiliani’s term) the more they think of it as a set of tools the more they want you to just do it. These are the managers that are usually hands-off with Lean and want to see the short term gains to demonstrate they are improving the process. They are focused on the results and outcomes and not the means by which we achieve them. This task oriented approach to management unfortunately is only sustainable while the doer is doing.

However those managers who truly know Lean understand the benefit comes from developing people to think and improve their own process the more they define the role as influencing or coaching. As Mike Rother said in Toyota Kata management must focus on how solutions are developed. Develop, via practice with coaching, the capability in people to develop new solutions. In this view the Lean leader can have the biggest impact coaching or influencing the process of improvement to capture the ingenuity of those in the organization.

In my experience being a coach is the most important aspect of a Lean leader. They are not the ones to come in and do it for you. They are the ones to show you how to do it with confidence so that you will be able to do it for yourself. A Lean leader must be relentless in teaching and expecting learning through actual practice.

The best analogy of a Lean leader that I have heard is related to agriculture. The Lean leader is a farmer not a hunter. Farmers take the long view, and win in the long term. Hunters take the short view, get early gains but ultimately die out. Farmers are shepherds and Lean leaders should do the same.



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Friday, June 24, 2011

Lean Quote: Leadership Requires Persistence

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.

"If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person. It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit." — Bill Clinton


Persistence means not giving up when faced with a challenge. It is the ability to stick with a difficult task and cope with frustration.

Nowhere is the importance of persistence more relevant than in leadership
Effective leaders never give up because something runs into obstacles, faces challenges or is difficult. They evaluate the idea or program, and if they feel it is important, they take every possible step to bring it to fruition. This may be difficult because they will face the naysayers who tell them to give up or forget about it, and that is often demotivating.

Achieving any great goal cannot be done overnight. It takes hard work. There will undoubtedly be obstacles that must be overcome. Someone must hold the vision and inspire others by rolling up his or her sleeves and working to make progress. Someone must lead.

Persistence is often related to positive attitude. Someone without strong beliefs or lacking confidence will generally stop fighting for ideals. True leaders realize that it is only by fighting for, and not giving up on ideals, that they can ever be a true effective leader.

What may separate leaders among others, is their persistence to do the right things - even if these are not what they want, even if they don't feel like doing it and even if all seems to be against them.

Persistence to do the right things - will not be that easy. It will require your inner will power. Mere brute force will not do it for you - it will be a game of the mind. The stronger your resolve, the more you will persist - and the more your chances of success.

I think above all us, leadership requires persistence.



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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lean. There's an App for That.

In this new age of hand held technology you frequently hear "There's an app for that" in reference to some task you are trying to do.  Well, I suppose Lean thinking shouldn't be any different.  The Lean Enterprise Institute introduced an app as another way to stay connected with them.  With this free app, you can easily access the latest news and information about LEI and the lean community, including books, workshop calendars, blogs, tweets, webinar audio, videos, photos, and more.


 




One thing I like about this app is the community feel LEI tries to create with this app.  This is not surprising since LEI is about creating value and building a strong Lean community. They have a fan wall that allows you to post a comment, you can leave comments about books and other posts, and you interact with other users of the app.  Doing this and more on the app earns you points.  The top 10 points earners are highlighted on the app.

This app has been out for sometime on the iPhone platform but I am an Android guy and this app is newly released on Android.  If you are looking a Lean app for your smartphone or tablet I would recommend that you check out this app.  I believe you will find value in it.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results

I usually have quite a list of books to read.  This is compounded by all those who would like me to review their book.  I enjoy learning and reading so this isn't a bad situation it just means that it can take a while to get to some books.  I finally got to Mike Rother's book Toyota Kata and wish I had gotten to it sooner.

Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results
 
A kata is a routine or behavior pattern that is deliberately practiced, whereby it becomes second nature. This is done to develop particular skills and mindset.  The term kata is found mostly in the study of Asian martial arts.

Toyota Kata defines management as, "the systematic pursuit of desired conditions by utilizing human capabilities in a concerted way." Mike Rother contends that Toyota's improvement processes are build upon two fundamental kata:
  • A kata for improvement or problem solving.
  • A kata for coaching

The "Improvement Kata" is a set of behavior guidelines for which a lot of discipline is needed. It is not learned in a classroom but by doing, through repeated practice. Therefore, everyone in Toyota is coached by a more experienced person, a mentor or a sensei. Teaching how to improve is done via a mentor/mentee dialogue, which Rother calls the "Coaching Kata".

He states it is exactly the 'Improvement Kata' and 'Coaching Kata' that enable Toyota to adapt adequately. Rother described how Toyota makes improvement based on a specific four part model:
  1. In consideration of a vision or direction…
  2. Grasp the current condition.
  3. Define the next target condition.
  4. Move toward that target condition iteratively, which uncovers obstacles that need to be worked on.

Rother argues that the "Kaizen Event" approach to improvement is not effective or sustainable because, at best, each process area will only get one or two bursts of improvement in a year. This is not continuous improvement and does truly engage the workforce.

Instead he argues for constant daily improvement - a "kata" – or a simple PDCA routine which is enacted every day by everyone in the process, and supported and coached by managers and team leaders who have roughly 50% of their time allocated to teaching this approach to improvement. Small step-by-step improvements are more effective over time than occasional kaizen bursts, and have a significantly greater impact on the organization culture - creating an environment of involvement and improvement.

In this management approach a primary job of leaders and managers is to develop people so that desired results can be achieved. They do this by having the organization members (leaders and managers included) deliberately practice a routine, or kata, that develops and channels their creative abilities.

The book's underlying message is that when people practice and learn a kata for how to proceed through unclear territory, they don't need to fear the obstacles, changes and unknowns they encounter. Rather than trying to hold onto a sense of certainty based on one's perspective, people can derive confidence from a kata for working through uncertainty.

Toyota Kata focuses on change and improvement, and explains how they are not an aspect of management, but the essence of it.  He debunks project management, action lists, budgets and a host of other traditional management fundamentals, and replaces them with an entire organization constantly engaged in small improvements

The book covers these five main interlocking topics:

  • The role of vision and direction in continuous improvement.
  • Critical context for the "classic lean tools" as target conditions.
  • The problem solving kata, and how it differs from what most of us do.
  • The coaching kata, really describing how management engages.
  • A proposal for teaching the problem solving and coaching kata to a management team.

Toyota Kata is an excellent and very well written book that really adds something new to the existing Lean literature. Anyone who has been on the Lean journey will immediately and easily relate to the material Toyota Kata contains. It explains how Toyota deals with the people part of Lean, and therefore I advise everyone who applies Lean in any setting to read it.

This is a book for practitioners who actually want to create a sustainable lean organization. I guarantee you will read this book several times, and each time you'll discover something new.
















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Monday, June 20, 2011

Pull Systems: An Essential Lean Element

The Association For Manufacturing Excellence (AME) is committed to enterprise excellence through shared learning and access to best practices.  As a proud member and leader in the Northeast Region I had the opportunity to share a best practice last fall on pull systems.  I have talked about this pull system before but AME recently published an article in Target Magazine about this event that you should read.

The article was written by Jeff Schaller, a professor of operations management at Eastern Connecticut State University.  In brief: 
Mercury Wire and OFS share their experiences and learnings from implementing lean and pull systems. Strategies and results at each company vary; commonalities include their focus on providing customer value, nurturing cultural change, and continuing performance improvements.


At a recent two-day AME “kick the tires” workshop held in Massachusetts, two companies, Mercury Wire and OFS, showcased their lean implementations and the pull systems used in their facilities. They also shared their approaches to teaching and training employees about the benefits of pull systems, and one of the companies showed how they have applied pull concepts to project management. This article provides a description of pull system basics, followed by an explanation of how the companies utilize their pull systems as a key element in implementing the lean philosophy.
Tim McMahon, OFS lean manufacturing leader, presented value stream maps for OFS Sturbridge’s old push system and the current pull system (see the accompanying illustration).



OFS Sturbridge has gone beyond using this approach to facilitate timely production and material transfers between processes. Increased visibility across the processes allowed the facility to develop teamwork for identifying and eliminating workload imbalances between the processes, helping to reduce backlogs.

Both organizations view pull signals and pull scheduling methods not just as tools but as part of a larger lean philosophy that is used to solve problems and serve customers.

There is a lot of valuable information in this article that goes well beyond the simplicity of pull.  Hopefully you can see applications for pull systems in your organization beyond just material. This should also give you an inside view to what I do as a Lean Practitioner in manufacturing.


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Friday, June 17, 2011

Lean Quote: Inspiration

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 one extra degree of effort in business and in life. Separates the good from the great." — Unknown


At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.
So many times it is that one extra degree of effort in business and in life that separates the good from the great.
The beauty of 212° is not only the simplicity but also the many applications. You can apply the concept to 212° service, 212° attitude, 212° leadership, 212° kindness, 212° commitment, 212° focus, 212° perseverance and the list goes on. Whatever your passion or profession, how true it is!





The next time you or your team needs inspiration refer back to this video's message:

It's your life.  You are responsible for the results. To get what we have never had we must do what we have never done.


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lean Lessons From The Stanley Cup Winning Boston Bruins

Many of you know of my enthusiasm for Ice Hockey as a player and a coach.  In the last few weeks hockey fans from all over the world have been captivated by the Stanley Cup Championship Playoff between The Boston Bruins (my team) and The Vancouver Canucks. This is the pinnacle of the hockey season with the winner taking the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.

As I reflect on the accomplishments of another season coming to an end I can't help but think about the valuable lessons that have been demonstrated.  I will present these ten lessons in terms of Lean thinking.

  1. Winning requires a positive attitude.  There are a lot of things out of our control and adversity is part of the challenge but how we react is up to us.  The right attitude can keep you moving forward.  The Bruins never dwelled on what they did wrong but what they needed to do better for the next game. 
Lean requires a willingness to try something new to improve our workplace. Fix what bugs up. Make work easier.

  1. Never give up.  Sports have lots of highs and lows throughout the game.  Perseverance is necessary to turn a bad situation into a good situation. When the Bruins were behind they never gave up and that kept them in the playoffs. 
Lean also needs perseverance to get you through the difficult bumps in the road along the way to improvement.

  1. Use a system.  All professional sports teams use a system.  It is more than set plays but methods in which the team works to beat their opponent. This ensures that everyone executes together.  The Bruins system involved a defense first approach and not looking behind the next shift. 
Systems and processes are at the heart of Lean thinking as they are the key to establishing standard work. This allows us to easily detect abnormalities and make improvements.

  1. Don't change for the sake of changing.  When the Bruins were struggling people were quick to suggest and ask what changes were needed.  Their Coach Claude Julien stayed the course and said don't panic.  It worked for them all year so there is no sense in changing everything when you are down.  If he had changed this late in the season it could likely have been worse. 
Changing just to change isn't necessarily productive but change based on real need is warranted. Following a PDCA process ensures you change when you need to.

  1. Practice. Practice. Practice.  All sports teams practice and the Bruins are no exception.  The key to their practices is to focus on game situations.  This high speed sport is much about reading and reacting so you must practice with intensity if you want to play with intensity.
In your organization you may not necessarily call it practice but you certainly experiment.  This experimentation is what prepares us to solve more and more complex problems.

  1. Find a leader.  Coach Julien has taken the Bruins from last place in the Northeast Division to four straight playoff appearances. You also need strong team leaders like that of Captain Zdeno Chara.
Leadership is essential in all organizations but in a Lean organization the leaders play a critical role of developing and empowering the people within the system.

  1. Take time to reflect.  Coach Julien was recently asked if he had taken time to take in the moment of being in the playoffs.  He said if you want to remember the moments you must stop and live in the moment. 
In Lean we call this reflection Hansei.  It is this process that makes learning and improvement possible.  We must take time to reflect on where we have been and how we did it if we want to move past it.

  1. It can take a long time to reach your goal.  The last time the Bruins won the Stanley cup was in 1970 (41 years) and the last time they made it to the final round of the playoffs was 1990 (21 years). Their goal as an organization has been to win the cup and over the last 10 years or so they have been on a mission to get back to the finals.
The Lean journey in pursuit of True North is a quest that also takes a long time with lots of patience and persistence.  Don't lose sight of the goal.

  1. The power of teamwork.  Hockey is not an individual sport it requires every member of the team to play their part to win.  It also requires everyone to be at their best.  Open communication and chemistry are an essential part of teamwork.
We all have roles in our organizations but it is the power of teamwork that makes our endeavors successful.  It takes everyone working together on a common goal to be successful in Lean.

  1. The value of hard work and sacrifice.  The Bruins have undoubtedly worked very hard and made sacrifices along the way to get to where they are.  But this makes winning so much sweeter in the end. 
Lean takes lots of hard work as well but it makes wins you get much more pleasurable.  It is this hard work that creates customer value and makes your organization competitive in the market place.


I hope you can learn from these lessons as I have and find a way to incorporate them in your life and your work. Keep learning.

Congratulations Boston Bruins for winning the Stanley Cup.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

8 Things to Avoid to Make Your Kaizen More Successful Replayed

If you missed the webinar, 8 Things to Avoid to Make Your Kaizen More Successful, that Jeff Hajek and I did on Friday, June 3, 2011 you can view the replay now.  In this webinar we talk about the use of kaizens in your organization and share 8 mistakes to avoid to make your kaizen effective. This is based on years of experience performing, leading, and teaching kaizens.




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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Edition #15

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 #211 - Set aside time for talking with your team about expectations.

You as the leader need not have all the answers. Your role is to ensure that the process for setting the expectations is clear and followed. Involve the people who do the routine work in defining the desired outcomes and the methods by which the results will be accomplished. You and the person(s) accepting the responsibility should build in from the beginning some agreeable method for routinely reporting progress.

Lean Tip #212 - Setting clear employee expectations is a key component in employee performance.

Explain, in detail, what is expected of them. Employee performance management requires that expectations are continually updated and communicated. Communicate what employees can expect from you as the team leader. Inform employees of what colleagues can expect from one another.

Lean Tip #213 - Successful leaders help employees find their full potential and guide them toward desired outcomes.

Keep your focus on the desired outcomes, not on describing each and every step to follow. You as the leader need not have all the answers. Your goal is to guide, not control. Letting individuals find their own route toward productive outcomes encourages them to use their strengths to their fullest potential.

Lean Tip #214 - Ensure your expectations are in alignment with your employees expectations.

Setting clear expectatios is not enough. You must ensure these expectations are cascaded through the organization. Ask your employees to list what they think is expected of them and tell them you will do the same. Compare the two lists to see how effectively you set expectations and how they understand them.

Lean Tip #215 - Good expectations are nothing without the right knowledge, skills, and competencies.

Performance problems may occur when a supervisor and employee lack agreement about expectations or lack the skills to meet the expectation. Expectations are the" know-what" where as skills are the "know-how". Leaders must provide employees the right tools and skills to be successful. Given the changing nature of work assessing the required knowledge, skills, and competencies, and then providing appropriate training and development is critical for good performance.

Lean Tip #216 - Metrics drive behavior, and the wrong metrics drive the wrong behavior.

Direct labor productivity is not a good metric. It doesn't matter whether each worker is producing as much as possible. What matters is whether the plant is producing the amount of product the customer wants. And that is not the same thing. Don't talk about direct labor productivity.

Lean Tip #217 - Without properly focused metrics you won't see performance as it really is or could be.

Management that focuses on the wrong metrics see processes as they think they are. For example, if plant management is totally focussed on shipping dollars, efficiency, utilization, and overhead absorption metrics then they miss reducing cycle time and increasing customer satisfaction. This can lead you to make less than optimal decisions.

Lean tip #218 - It is very difficult to improve something that you fail to measure properly.

Without good performance measurements, it is easy for companies to fall into a very common trap: Employees keep busy with all kinds of activities but achieve few of the desired results. Effective performance measurement is the compass that guides management toward meaningful results at the process level, results that will tie directly with the company's goals

Lean Tip #219 - Metrics should be implemented to influence or regulate our processes and our actions.

If what you measure doesn't change behavior or enable you to make a decision, why are you bothering to measure it? The best metrics are those that impact our processes. Yet you would be surprised how few of the metrics affect the things we do.

Lean Tip #220 - Focus on proactive metrics that measure the right things.

The overwhelming bulk of metrics are what I call "comfort metrics." They tell us, or our bosses, that we have done a good job. But our focus should be on proactive metrics - that is, the right metrics. That means that the right person sees the right metric at the right time so that he or she can take the right action to achieve the right result.

Lean Tip #221 - Continuous Learning Creates Endless Opportunities

A constant quest for learning provides the means to always be moving forward, to conquer new frontiers and achieve new and exciting goals. Make a point to learn something new every day. Learning new things brings more exciting experiences your way. It allows you to meet other people who can bring further knowledge or learning opportunities.

Lean Tip #222 - Set Learning Goals to Further Your Knowledge

We usually set goals for the year around performance at work or weight loss/exercise at home. You should also set goals around learning. Try to learn a new skill every year. By creating a plan for learning and measuring your progress you can be sure to achieve the goal. This will create a continuous learning cycle.

Lean Tip #223 - Continuous Learning Isn't Possible Without Practice and Experimentation

Continuous learning requires two elements to be truly successful overtime:

PRACTICE: After completing a learning experience, create opportunities to apply what you learned as soon as possible and many times to refine your ability.

EXPERIMENT: Take a risk and try something new, even if you aren’t all that comfortable. We can learn as much,sometimes more, from our mistakes than from getting it right the first time.

Lean Tip# 224 - One of the best ways to learn is to teach or coach someone else

One of the best ways to learn is to teach or coach someone else. Most trainers will tell you that they

learned a lot more from teaching than from taking courses themselves. Share what you are learning with a coworker; offer to coach someone who is learning a new skill; agree to do deliver a workshop.


Try blogging - this has been a truly remarkable learning experience.

Lean Tip #225 -Successful Companies Build a Learning Organization

Learning is the key to success—some would even say survival—in today’s organizations. Knowledge should be continuously enriched through both internal and external learning. For this to happen, it is necessary to support and energize organization, people, knowledge, and technology for learning. A learning organization values the role that learning can play in developing organizational effectiveness.


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Monday, June 13, 2011

A Tribute to Eli Goldratt



This weekend a true pioneer in process and business improvement passed away. From the Goldratt-TOC website:

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Dr. Eli Goldratt the founder of TOC. Eli passed away on 11 June 2011.

"I smile and start to count on my fingers: One, people are good. Two, every conflict can be removed. Three, every situation, no matter how complex it initially looks, is exceedingly simple. Four, every situation can be substantially improved; even the sky is not the limit. Five, every person can reach a full life. Six, there is always a win-win solution. Shall I continue to count?"

Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt 1947- 2011


The Goal was one of the first books I read early in my career.  I highly recommend this book for anyone involved in process improvement. 

In a tribute to Eli Goldratt I thought I would share some posts I did highlighting his teachings:

Lean Quote: Change: Isn't it Obvious 
Do you know how to handle your constraint?
Lean Quote: The Bottleneck 
The Eight Wastes of NPD 
Is it the End of an Era or Just another Lesson? 

Even though this Guru has passed his lessons will continue for generations.  Who could forget the lessons of "Herbie" and that of problem solving.  

How did Eli impact your Lean thinking? Share you story here.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Lean Quote: Lean Requires Patience, Practice, Sharing

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 practice of patience toward one another, the overlooking of one another's defects, and the bearing of one another's burdens is the most elementary condition of all human and social activity in the family, in the professions, and in society." — Lawrence Lovasik


The other day I saw this video on TV that had a compelling message that relates to the approach we need to take when implementing Lean.

Based on a true story, this poignant moment in a concert hall reminds us how even the most embarrassing situations can be turned around with a little patience and encouragement.

Click picture to go to video.

From Values.com Patience, Practice, and Sharing can be defined as:

Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. 

Practice is a learning method that can lead to perfection.

Sharing is having a portion of something with another or others.

The Foundation for a Better Life began as a simple idea to promote positive values. They believe that people are basically good and just need a reminder. And that the values we live by are worth more when we pass them on.

Lean thinking is difficult transition to make in many organizations.  From dealing with naysayers to finding early supporters to help convert the rest the challenge is the same.  If you can reflect back on this video's message and that of the quote it will help you in this transition.  Lean thinking requires patience, practice, and sharing to be successful.  Build confidence through encouragement.



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