Friday, July 31, 2020

Lean Quote: The Golden Rule vs The Platinum Rule

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"In a diverse world, the ‘Platinum rule’ replaces the ‘Golden rule’: we should treat others as they’d like to be treated, not as we’d like to be treated.  — Thais Compoint, author of “Succeed as an Inclusive Leader”

You may have heard of the Golden Rule before. Many people aspire to live by it but the Golden Rule is not a panacea.

The Golden Rule—treat others as you want to be treated—has a fatal flaw: it assumes that all people want to be treated the same way. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.

The Platinum Rule—treat others as they want to be treated—corrects that flaw. Irresistible people are great at reading other people, and they adjust their behavior and style to make others feel comfortable.

The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from "this is what I want, so I'll give everyone the same thing" to "let me first understand what they want and then I'll give it to them." This rule presents us with a significant challenge, in order for us to follow it we must listen and inquire about the needs of others, and suppress our desire to tell them what it is that they need.

I believe the real goal of the Golden Rule is to treat others the way they would like to be treated. The Platinum Rule, distilled to its essence, equates to respect for others. After all, isn't it really about being considerate of others? Isn't it about understanding what their needs and wants are and empowering them to succeed by meeting those needs and wants? When you empower those around you, it makes for a positive and uplifting environment. Who doesn't want to be in a happy workplace?


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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Lean Roundup #134 – July 2020



A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of July 2020.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

Can a Public Company Ever Be Lean? – Dan Markovitz answers the question whether public US companies really embrace lean.

Point, Flow & System Improvement – Pascal Dennis explains the difference between point, flow and system level improvements.

The Case Against Chief Diversity, Quality, Excellence Officers or Centers – Johanna Rothman explains the problem with naming chiefs, officers, and centers and the shift of responsibility from the many to the few.

Culture Change – Bruce Hamilton shares a story illustrating that culture change is after all, not a discrete event, but continuous improvement that engages everyone according to their individual capabilities. 

5S and Five More Working from Home Hacks – Jon Miller shares tips and advice for working productively at home by focusing on your work environment and removing those distractions.

Measurement System & Sampling Horror Stories – Ron Pereira shares two important point about sampling and measurement systems that everyone should know.

When Customer-Supplier Partnerships… Aren’t – Kevin Meyer talks about the dangers of long payment terms and the strain on customer and supplier relationships that causes.

Love for Ohno, Hate for Taylor? – Bob Emiliani describes the similarities between Taylor and Scientific Management and Ohno and Toyota Management.

Where Broken, Come Back Stronger – Jamie Flinchbaugh talks about the concept of kintsugi, take what’s broken and make it better and more beautiful than before.

Why We Believe Tough Times and Opportunity Go Hand in Hand – Lean Sensei Women (primarily authored by Rose Heathcote) discuss how to survive and thrive in these uncertain times while keeping an eye on long-term sustainability.

Lessons Shared On Learning to Lead; and Leading to Learn – Katie Anderson shares some lessons on leadership and people development which became the theme of her new book.

The Art of Lean: Must-Knows for Coaching the Corrective-Action Phase of Problem-Solving, Part 1 & Part 2 – Art Smalley explains A.D.P. (administration, detection, and prevention) methodology for dealing with countermeasures or corrective action items when problem solving.

Ask Art: Why Do Most Companies Think Of Lean as Just a Cost Reduction Program? – Art Byrne says we shouldn’t be surprised at all that most companies approach lean as a cost reduction program, when it really is better understood as a time-based growth strategy.

What Comes After Lean? - Bob Emiliani discusses the idea that if management is progressive evolution of thinking hence how lean evolved then what will be next evolution.

How to Think about Zero - Jon Miller reflects on various “zero initiatives” within Lean management and whether they contain any lessons.

How A Complete Lean Production System Fuels Global Success - Jim Womack describes four elements of a lean enterprise and how those make Toyota successful over rivals GM and Ford.


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Monday, July 27, 2020

5 Simple Ways to Engage Remote Employees

The pandemic is completely redefining the way teams communicate and work. While remote work used to be offered by some companies as a way to offer a more flexible lifestyle to their employees, it has now become the norm for most businesses.

Remote work is not an option or a privilege any more. It has become the norm in most organizations right after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 reached the pandemic status and urged Governments and other authorities to step in to prevent the virus from spreading.

However, managing remote employees comes with its own set of challenges. The following tips will help you keep your remote employees inspired and engaged within a cohesive and supportive environment.

Communication Is Key.

It is crucial that remote staff feel they are always able to communicate with their colleagues, whether it’s their manager or someone else working the same tasks in a different location. Of course, it’s impossible for everyone to be available at all times, but through digital communication tools, staff can get in touch with one another instantly.

Be Proactive and Check In Frequently.

As remote teams may feel disconnected, managers who lead remote teams need to make themselves available. Frequent check-ins with remote workers is a great way to help them overcome challenges that come with remote work. Waiting for an employee to speak up may be too late. In fact, many of them will never decide to raise a problem themselves. Frequently ask a simple question such as “How can I help you be more productive and feel more connected.''

Make Collaboration More Efficient.

Team collaboration is one of the main factors for greater productivity. Therefore, many employers are trying to improve the way remote teams work together. Team collaboration and employee engagement solutions are the best way to eliminate this challenge faced by most companies who have remote employees.

Empower Your Remote Employees.

Remote workers want to be a part of decision making in companies that they work for. They want to have a word and be heard. Therefore, employers should empower remote employees to make their own decisions, communicate and implement new ideas.

Be Personal.

Finally, it can be easy for remote staff to feel they aren’t known by the rest of the team. In offices, people chat on their coffee breaks and mix in a way that remote workers cannot. Many digital communication platforms can help you create a space for personal discussion where employees can relax and be themselves. In general, making sure you get to know your staff is crucial to their motivation and feeling of belonging.

Remember that managing and engaging your employees is an opportunity, as well as a challenge whether they work half way across the office or halfway across the country. With a remote team, you need to harness more technology to stay connected.

When you’re looking into how to engage remote employees and keeping remote employees engaged, remember that it’s a constant task to nurture and develop. Engagement is never a one size fits all approach or something you do once in a blue moon. Keeping remote employees engaged turns them into your best and biggest asset.


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Friday, July 24, 2020

Lean Quote: Five Ways You Can Make a Difference as a Leader

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.


"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.  — Tom Brokaw

A lot of people want to make a difference but few do. They may not know where to start or think it could be risky. To make an impact and lead, it starts with having the right mindset. Here are five ways you can be less afraid to make a difference and lead:

Encourage and Inspire
Recognize the power of developing people as the way to achieving your business goals. Invest as much time, if not more, into coaching and team development as on anything else. Delegate effectively via setting expectations. Get out of the way: Let people do their bit. You will most empower your team by getting clear on success criteria and the role you want to play. 

Shares Your Wisdom
Memorable leaders are those who enjoy sharing their wisdom and secrets of success.   These types of leaders are great teachers and are the best mentors.  The leadership lessons you share with them they will come to appreciate later in their career because they carry the most weight and impact.

Makes You Feel Valued
Leadership is all about people and leaders who forget this will be forgotten quickly. When leaders value and respect their employees, retention will remain strong and people will work harder, with a greater sense of purpose, and with a passionate pursuit of excellence.

Give Space to Fail
One of the most crippling challenges in any organization is fear of failure. It can lead to resistance to change and limits an organization's ability to generate and act on ideas, innovate and adapt. This fear can corrupt an entire culture, leading to higher levels of disengagement.

Empower People
Of all the ways that leaders change lives for the better, nothing matches the gift of empowerment. Leaders take their power, combine it with their belief in the best of others, and give both away freely. When people have both the faith and authority to make a difference, they have the energy necessary to act with boldness.

Ultimately, it is the leader who strives to have an impact that is bigger than just themselves who will be the most memorable – and for all the right reasons.   They will always leave an unforgettable impression and have long-lasting influence on you, your career, and the organization they serve.


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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Leadership Fails: Avoid These 10 Mistakes


Leadership fails, every great leader will have some during their time on top. Being the leader of the pack is not easy, it is stressful at times but can be rewarding if done right. A great leader is critical to a teams’ success; the way they choose to lead will have a huge impact on the entire organization. A strong leader can lead good employees to greatness but a bad leader can bring extraordinary employees down to sub-par.  I have personally worked for many horrible bosses but have also worked for a few amazing ones. I’ve been a leader, both in my own business and working for others, and have always avoided these leadership fails because after seeing them from the side of an employee, I learned how detrimental they can be to the team.

Lacking Vision
Leaders without vision will fail. Leaders who lack vision cannot inspire teams, motivate performance, or create sustainable value. Poor vision, tunnel vision, vision that is fickle, or a non-existent vision will cause leaders to fail. A leader’s job is to align the organization around a clear and achievable vision. This cannot occur when the blind lead the blind.

Resisting New Ideas
Poor leaders believe change is bad. They will often say, “that’s not the way things used to be done around here.” They cling to old ways and habits and often stand in the way of progress. They generally want to know how things will benefit them and don’t encourage regular feedback from coworkers.

Not “Walking the Talk”
This is one of the classic mistakes of leadership — not leading by example. Leaders who fail in this area expect results, but rarely take the time to help their fellow colleagues. They only delegate and never seem to come down from their high horse to roll up their sleeves and get things done. They generally defend their behavior by saying things like, “That’s not my job” or “I’ve done my time.”

My Way or The Highway
As a boss, there is a delicate balance between staying in command and allowing your employees to express their own creative ability. Although your employees may not always have the right solution, many times they will. When you are in charge you need to learn to guide your employees to discover the right decisions but let them make these decisions on their own. A leader who sets a tone of my way or the highway will create a toxic environment for employees. If employees stick around with this kind of leader they won’t be satisfied or happy in the long run.

Settling for Mediocre Performance
Poor leaders aim low and are complacent. They don’t respond well to high expectations, accept that their team members do the same and are not likely to rise to any occasion for that matter. They don’t challenge their team to realize their potential and their favorite word is “settle.”

Micro-managing
Many first time bosses will make this mistake, part of being a boss is to learn to let go of the responsibilities of your employees. This doesn’t mean you don’t hold your employees accountable, it means to judge their results, not their actions. There are many ways a beaver can build a dam, there is no correct way to build it. If the damn washes downstream the beaver has failed, if the dam remains in tact and provides a shelter for the beaver and it’s family the beaver is successful, regardless of how they went about building it. A good manager understands this and wants their employees to be productive on their own. They will focus on the results the employee produces, not how they go about producing them. Micro-managers do just the opposite, they focus on what the employee is doing daily, always tracking their activity. Micro-managers will keep all their employees on speed dial and expect their calls be answered every time they call.  

Passing the Buck
Everyone is human, we all screw up at one time or another, however as a manager, you need to accept when your employees downfall is because of your doing. The best of leaders will have their employees back, they will not only take the heat when they have created a problem but will also help redirect conflict which the employee may have mistakenly created on their own. There will be times where an employee makes a deliberate mistake and appropriate corrective action is required but in most cases it’s just a simple mistake, one which could have been made by anyone.

Too Reactive
Leaders need to be proactive, not just reactive. If you find yourself spending all of your time trying to put out fires, then you aren't using your time effectively. Proactive leaders have an influence on the future and form the right alliances to advance their causes. Of course you should make sure your group is getting all the answers and resources they need, but don't ignore the future.

Lack of Clarity
This is one the largest and most leadership potential-killing communication failures that you can make. If employees lack a clear goal for what the organization is striving to achieve, this can lead to many negative consequences and overall chaos. When employees are not clear about the organization’s goals or what their leaders want, they become frustrated and their motivation nose dives. After all, if they don’t know what they are working for, why work at all? Employees don’t like to feel directionless. A lack of clarity can lead to mixed messages that will frustrate you, your employees and your organization.

Failing to Develop Others
Because selfish, failing leaders view others as a threat to their position, they are very reluctant to develop top performers into company leaders. On top of their other nine flaws, it makes it almost impossible for anyone to want to work under these managers. This behavior decreases productivity and makes for poor team morale, increasing turnover in the long run.

It's true that making a mistake can be a learning opportunity. But, taking the time to learn how to recognize and avoid common mistakes can help you become productive and successful, and highly respected by your team.

The world’s greatest leaders know that success is fleeting and that no amount of success in the present can prevent a future failure. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it can’t happen to you, but the truth is, it’s much easier to fail than you think. An essential part of leadership development is understanding the warning signs that indicate potential problems; learn what they are and how to combat them to reduce the risk of a leadership failure.


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Monday, July 20, 2020

The Importance of Leading by Example


Good leadership isn’t something that just happens. Leaders are those who make good things happen. One of the best ways they do it is by giving people a reason to believe and to follow. That’s simple and easy to say, but it takes a lifetime of trying to put into practice. There are no shortcuts, but there are signposts. The job of a manager is to get the system running; the job of a leader is to turn on the system, and, more especially, to get others to do the same.

Whether you realize it or not, if you're a leader, your employees are watching every move you make. Good leaders must lead by example. By walking your talk, you become a person others want to follow.

Our concept of a leader may be shaped in part by the nineteenth century model of a cavalry officer. This person earned his position because he could outride, outshoot, and outdrink every man in his regiment, not to mention outcharm all the ladies. There is a gem of truth in the cavalry officer’s approach to leadership, and that is the capability to do the job and do it well.

Leaders should do the work and know the trade. You don’t have to be the most advanced technician on the team, but you must have an in-depth understanding of your industry and your business. Employees have to know that their manager has what it takes to do the job. Today’s executive jobs are less physical , but they do demand critical thinking skills. Leaders need to communicate by example that they have the smarts to handle the job.

Leaders have many responsibilities, but it is important to work alongside your team. This is a great way to build trust and continue to develop your own knowledge and skills. Building trust can be accomplished by demonstrating credibility. Leaders must find ways to show that they not only possess valuable expertise, but also do not withhold or manipulate information to suit their own needs.

Honesty matters more than anything else. An effective leader will regard honesty and reliability as paramount and their behavior within the organization will reflect this: everyone, at all levels of the business, must act honestly.

Leadership is not a solo act; they point the way, but others carry the load. Therefore, the person in charge earns credibility by working collaboratively with the team as well as sharing credit for any success. Furthermore, managers who stand in the spotlight when things go poorly earn more than respect; they gain the hearts and minds of their followers. Such commitment, nurtured by respect for individual and collective abilities, will prepare the whole team to accomplish more in the future.

A good leader shows their employees how to work together to achieve solutions. By encouraging active listening among employees, a good leader ensures that people actually understand what others mean. A good leader will give constructive criticism and ensure that employees feel a true connection with the actions and processes required to achieve the company’s goals, making them willing to work – and put in extra effort – to achieve them.
Leaders who understand the power of their example treat coworkers at all levels with respect, mentor and coach people, seize and take advantage of teachable moments, show up on time and take responsibility for their actions. They show empathy, passion, integrity and compassion.

Command is granted; leadership is earned. That’s an adage that governs our military. People are put into positions of authority, but it is up to the individual to earn the respect and trust of his followers. The chief coin of such earning is example. When followers see the leader doing what is right for the team; that is, supporting, developing, nurturing, and defending in good times and bad, they grant their trust. The same trust-building revenue applies to individuals. Managers who put the interests of their people first by finding ways to help them grow, develop, and take on more responsibilities cease to be mere managers; they are leaders of men and women who have earned their rank by giving their people a reason to believe.

Setting an example isn’t just about finding ways to motivate employees in the short term; it can also inspire them in more lasting ways. Inspirational leadership generates enthusiasm and passion for the organization’s mission by helping employees to align their personal values with company initiatives. An inspired team is more likely to meet its goals, demonstrate higher levels of engagement, and produce higher quality work.


One of the responsibilities of a leader is to inspire other people to do the best that they can do for the benefit of the organization. To achieve this, the leader must show them the way by getting involved in the process – leading by example.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Lean Quote: Be a Leader, Not a Manager

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.


"Great leaders don’t set out to be leaders. They set out to make a difference.  — Jeremy Bravo

The primary difference between management and leadership is that leaders don’t necessarily hold or occupy a management position. Simply put, a leader doesn’t have to be an authority figure in the organization; a leader can be anyone.

Unlike managers, leaders are followed because of their personality, behavior, and beliefs. A leader personally invests in tasks and projects and demonstrates a high level of passion for work. Leaders take a great deal of interest in the success of their followers, enabling them to reach their goals to satisfaction—these are not necessarily organizational goals.

Below are five important traits of a leader:

Vision
A leader knows where they stand, where they want to go and tend to involve the team in charting a future path and direction.

Honesty and Integrity
Leaders have people who believe them and walk by their side down the path the leader sets.

Inspiration
Leaders are usually inspirational—and help their team understand their own roles in a bigger context.

Communication Skills
Leaders always keep their team informed about what’s happening, both present and the future—along with any obstacles that stand in their way.

Ability to Challenge
Leaders are those that challenge the status quo. They have their style of doing things and problem-solving and are usually the ones who think outside the box.


Leadership works on inspiration and trust among employees; those who do wish to follow their leader may stop at any time. Generally, leaders are people who challenge the status quo. Leadership is change-savvy, visionary, agile, creative, and adaptive.

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