Friday, August 29, 2014

Lean Quote: Walk In Our Shoes

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 best way to understand your customer is to become you customer and walk a mile in his shoes.— Ian D. Littman

As management guru Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” Empathy is an important component of keeping a customer.

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and walk a mile.  It’s the ability to imagine what it might be like to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, and experience of the other person. Empathy is more than simple sympathy, which is being able to understand and support others with compassion or sensitivity.

Customers want to feel that we understand and appreciate their circumstances without criticism or judgment. Customers have simple expectations that we who serve them can put ourselves in their shoes, understanding what it is they came to us for in the first place.

The action of empathy, walking a mile in the shoes of your customers, allows you to connect, establish rapport and create a trusting relationship. Once the customer realizes that you are on their side, they are more willing to work with you to fix the problem, or will allow you the time to resolve the issue. And they will stay with you and tell their friends about you. They will grow your business.

Build a culture of empathy. Empathy is an essential component of caring about your customers, your employees, and your company, and its absence signals larger problems in organizational culture. Empathy can’t be plastered on like a fake smile, but it can be cultivated from within.


Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lean Roundup #63 - August, 2014



A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of August, 2014.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

3 Ways to React to Human Error – Mark Graban explains the typical reaction to human error and a better way to prevent the effects of human error.

The CEO must remove all barriers to lean, and some barriers are people. If one person must leave the company, do so with respect – Orry Fiume explains how Wiremold dealt with the Lean Transformation with employees.

Respect doesn’t mean that pamper or coddle people. Attitudes issues are adressed one on one – David Meier explains the respect for people concept and how to deal performance issues.

Ask Art: What Does a Lean Manager Do Differently? – Art Byrne compares Lean management and traditional management.

Eliminate the Need for Heroics – Karen Martin says outstanding organizations continuously strive to create work environments where successful performance isn’t dependent on heroics.

The Biggest Obstacles to Making Manufacturing Leaner – Tom Bonine explains 5 obstacles in Lean manufacturing implementation and how to over come them.

Focus on Flow – Bob Emiliani says focus on flow is the foundation of Lean and it’s departure leads to fake Lean.

Using Observation Systematically – Jamie Flinchbaugh explains 4 levels of observation and how to use them how to extract the truth.

How We Learn – Bruce Hamilton shares a 3 step model for management effectiveness developed from Ryuji Fukuda.

OFTEN SKIPPED: UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGE AND DIRECTION – Mark Rosenthal explains the missing and important step in Toyota Kata.

Catalog Engineers and Value Stream Mapping – Pete Abilla challenges you to go against the norm and add creativity and innovation to your Lean approach.

Teaching Up in the Organization? – Mark Graban talks about how we help leaders learn and lead Lean.

The Secret is in the Process – Bill Waddell says how work flows though the value stream to the customer is what really matters.

People are Not Resources – Johanna Rothman says when managers think of people as resources, they stop thinking.

Reprise: The Fog of Big Company Disease – Pascal Dennis explains that it the leader’s role to increase the visibility of the current condition.

8 Tips for “Passing the Baton” with Suppliers and Customers – Robert Martichenko shares 8 lean principles to guide you in analyzing and improving handoffs with suppliers and customers.

Communicating With Respect – Alice Lee talks about how to improve your communication and how to do it with respect for people.

Lean Talks: Are You Making Excuses or Solving Problems? – Mark Graban shares a talk he gave at the Lean Transformation Summit on the culture of continuous improvement.


Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jim Carrey on Fear, Failure, and Doing What You Love

In a recent commencement address at the Maharishi University of Management, actor and comedian Jim Carrey spoke about failure, fear, and why you should pursue something that you love.

Fear of unknown, consequent failure and complacency are some of the major reasons for resisting change. There are some people out there who have no fear of the unknown, and who can simply decide logically what they want to do and do it, but for the rest of us, we have to make the unfamiliar feel familiar. 

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

Find happiness in your job.To be effective, you have to be happy doing what you are doing. If your job is to stressful, boss is giving you a hard time or you are not happy, quit. Yes, quit that job and find one you really can enjoy. This will boost your creativity, productivity and joy.

I have always enjoyed Jim Carrey's comedy and movies, but I am really impressed with his insights in this speech.
So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I'm saying: I'm the proof that you can ask the universe for it.
My father could have been a great comedian but he didn't believe that was possible for him. So he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.
I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.




Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lean Quote: Disney - Courage is Necessary to Make Our Dreams Come True

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.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.— Walt Disney

Today, mark my last day of vacation in Disney with the family where dreams really do come true. I want to share another of my favorite quotes from Walt Disney regarding big dreams and having the courage to see them through. 

When things are difficult, unknown, and perhaps unattainable we may turn the other direction. We must find the inner strength to overcome these perceived barriers. History has proven time after time that the power of a thought is the beginning for actions that will alter the future positively. Understanding this, and having the courage to keep going even in the face of all obstacles, allows us to accomplish anything we want. 

Recognizing these truths about courage will assist you in overcoming any challenge that you face:

1. Courage Begins with an Inward Battle - Courage isn't an absence of fear. It's doing what you are afraid to do. It's having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory.

2. Courage Is Making Things Right, Not Just Smoothing Them Over - Courage deals with principle, not perception. It's knowing when to stand up and having the conviction to do so.

3. Courage in a Leader Inspires Commitment from Followers - A show of courage by any person encourages others. But a show of courage by a leader inspires. It makes people want to follow them.

4. Your Life Expands in Proportion to Your Courage - Fear limits a leader. But courage has the opposite effect. Courage not only gives you a good beginning, but it also provides a better future.

Courage means trusting yourself to overcome your fears and doing what you are afraid to do. Courage increases conviction and inspires others to confront their fears. 

Walt Disney embodied his quote by dreaming big and being courageous despite the challenges and skeptics. Without his courage to dream and execute we would not have the institution that has become Disney. 

It takes courage to begin the journey towards our dreams and to see them through to success.


Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Respect for People: Importance of Work-Life Balance and Taking Time Off



Despite our best intentions to live balanced lives, the modern world demands that we are almost always connected and productive, and this can drain us emotionally, spiritually, and physically. With our hectic lifestyle, we often underestimate the power of relaxation. Most of us have a massive to-do list each day, and we feel we can't afford to slow our pace or we'll quickly fall behind. However, we fail to acknowledge the ways that relaxation can increase our stamina, clear our thoughts, and allow us to get much more accomplished with less effort.

Employees need work–life balance.  It is important for employees to take care of themselves. That means paying attention to all needs, physical, mental, psychological and spiritual.

The more balanced people can be in all these areas, the more creativity and fresh perspective they have to bring to their work. If employees are depleted of energy, then they do not perform a peak levels. Vacation time-off is one key to maintaining this balance. Taking time off can be very positive for the employees and everyone they interact with at work.

If you respect your people you will reward them for their time and effort with a good work-life balance. Giving workers plenty of personal time is very important. This can, in turn, lead to increasing the quality of the work the employees perform. The reason for this is because, first of all, it shows the employees that the company respects their time and, in turn, the employee will respect the company's time by doing their best. Another reason for this is that employees do get burned out, and do need to take mental breaks from working too long.

A more satisfied employee with proper work-life balance has more to give on a daily basis. Most people that have a sense of balance in their lives, between the personal and professional, adapt well to change. It seems that those employees that have other interests, beyond the workplace, deal with change much better than those who are “married” to their jobs. Encourage your staff to have other, meaningful life experiences. Support your employees' getting a real life, hobby, pastime or other interests. Convince them that you understand and encourage a strong work-life balance. Your staff will appreciate your concern and position on this subject. Whether or not they verbalize their need for balance (or even consciously understand that it exists), your staff will appreciate your interest in their total—not just workplace—well-being.

I must say I have enjoyed my time off these last two weeks.  I can’t say it has been completely restful since we have been very busy however the change of pace and time with the family has been invigorating. Next week it is back to normal routine again.



Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Monday, August 18, 2014

Walt Disney, The Lean Thinker



One of the most successful people that we all know and love is none other than Walt Disney. Walt Disney is the famous voice and creator of Mickey Mouse and the founder of Disneyland. The Father of Mickey Mouse was a Lean Thinker before Lean became well known.

Here are five valuable lessons of competition, the impossible, bias for action, curiosity, and improvement that demonstrate Disney was a Lean Thinker

Competition is Good
“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”

Competition makes you stronger, it makes you better, it keeps you on your toes. Never shrink away from competition; never fail to see the value of competition. Your competitors can provide you with more value than your friends. Learn from the competition, and you will grow.

It’s critical that you embrace competition as well as adversity, Walt Disney said, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Do the Impossible
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Life is too short to spend it doing the possible. Learn to pursue the impossible, pursue what others say can’t be done, pursue what has never been done before, pursue your dreams, and turn them into a reality.

You must believe in the beauty of your dreams. Walt said, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” If you’re going to believe, you might as well believe all the way.

Action Always Trumps Inaction
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

I always say that “well done” is better than “well said,” so quit talking and start doing! Quit planning and start practicing; a plan is good, a good plan is even better, but if that plan doesn't get put into action it’s as useless as a four fingered glove. Learn to get into action, start today, whatever you've been postponing …just do it. If you wait for the perfect time, you’ll never accomplish anything.

Curiosity Brings New Solutions
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

I don’t believe in shortcuts because they take too long.

But if there ever was a shortcut, it’s asking for advice from people who are further down the path to you. Find others who do what you want to do, and seek support from them. Let their past mistakes and failures guide you towards your dream.

If the thought of reaching out scares you, remember that they are a lot like you. At some stage, they've also asked for help on what to do next. Don’t be afraid. Be nice and show them respect. It works.

Get Better Daily
Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”

Every day you should become a little better than you were the day before. If you can become one percent better daily, you can recreate your life every 100 days. Learn to get better daily; look for ways to improve, to be kinder, more intelligent, and more helpful.

Disney’s work continues to inspire us and his world-famous cartoons live on. But some of Disney’s best lessons are about how he approached life with an endless dose of curiosity and determination to entertain and awaken the child within us.


Wouldn't you say these are the mark of a Lean leader? Do you think Walt Disney demonstrated such?


Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lean Quote: Disney - Developing People is Vital

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.

"Of all the things I've done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them toward a certain goal.— Walt Disney

Today, I am still on vacation in Disney with the family where dreams come true. So with this in mind I wanted to look at a quote from Walt Disney on leadership. This one in particular highlights the important role of leaders to develop employees..

Every leader has two jobs. Your job is to help the team succeed by accomplishing your mission. That's the job that gets the most attention, but your other job is just as important. Your job is to help your team members succeed, too. "Succeed" means doing a good job, developing skills, earning autonomy, growing, and much more. Neither job is "the most important." They're equally important, and often support each other if done well.

Developing people means challenging people. But just issuing challenges isn’t enough. It would be disrespectful to not also teach a systematic, common means of developing solutions and meeting those challenges. Leaders facilitate the solution of problems by pinpointing responsibility and developing employees. Leaders do not solve other people’s problems. 

Good leadership is not reflected in the leader’s actions, it is reflected in the impact and effect of those actions on the team. A leader should adapt to the environment and what the team needs today without losing sight of what will be needed tomorrow and always preparing for that moment when he or she will no longer be there. Guaranteeing the growth and sustainability of the team and the individuals that comprise it beyond the leader’s time is the ultimate trait of a great leader. In fact, the true success of a leader can not be measured without considering the results of the succession plan.


Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel SlideShare