What do leaders need when they are starting out in improvement? They need some strong tips to help them understand what they are trying to achieve and some tools to get started with. I’m a big believer in giving people simple, straightforward options when it comes to lean and starting an improvement program is no different.
In 2007, my Managing Director at the time handed me a book. Right in that moment, I didn’t realise the profound effect this book would have on the way I […]
It happens in every system. You find a problem, record your current state, experiment towards the target vision, come up with a fantastic solution and feel that great sense of […]
I’ve heard it many times from really successful managers. “We’re doing improvement, we’re just not documenting it.” My eyebrows always raise a bit when I hear this particular phrase. That’s […]
The pursuit of perfection in systems and processes has been the key theme of my career for twenty years. Now I’ve read a ton of books, lean books, theory of constraint books, books about how to combine theory of constraints and lean and don’t even get me started on books about six sigma. But earlier in my career I found that not one of those books gave me any pointers on how to move a company from one state to another in terms of culture, or how to create momentum. For sure, I knew about Value Stream Mapping, PDCA cycles and Just in Time but what I was lacking was the secret formula to making lean or any other methodology really work.
As we have gotten closer and closer to the end of the first stage, our team has started talking about what happens next and which areas of the process will be worked on next. The resulting plan is so exciting that we all feel like something wonderful is just around the corner.
Earlier this year I wrote a post about managing workplace clutter and my own personal quest for a minimal ‘lean’ workspace. At the time, I wasn’t sure how easy my seriously pared down workspace was going to work out. Would I be buried under clutter a few months later, or constantly frustrated by having nowhere to put anything?
Change often comes with discomfort, even change for the better. Our minds are comfortable with the status quo and reluctant to forge ahead into known obstacles and discomfort. If we focus on WHY we want to change and fix our gaze to the horizon where our ambitions hover, we can see that discomfort is merely a necessary part of following the path to true north.
No one’s going to buy an improvement program just because a version of it works for someone else. Here lies the misconception. If someone has to sell you an improvement program, you’re probably not ready for it.
In a post I wrote earlier this year, I talked about the key pitfalls of visual display boards and some tips for avoiding them. I briefly mentioned what I believe […]
One of the key pitfalls that companies fall into as they embark on a lean transformation is failing to establish a clear vision of what lean will look like when implemented in their business.
Intentional Living – How I have used a key business method for improving my focus on personal growth
What I didn’t expect was that I would suddenly see how I could use these same techniques to gain focus and improve the implementation of my personal growth strategic plan and figure out how to take my goals and turn them into tangible actions and ultimately results.
By setting a perfect standard we can sometimes make the standard impossible to realise. It's much better to set a realistic standard that requires some improvement to achieve but doesn't necessarily ask for perfection all at once.
As I watch our team members explain how they or their team personally changed their own work processes for the better, I am reminded both of how far the culture has come in nearly three years and of the truth that lean culture grows out of the empowerment and commitment of people.
To these leaders, the message is simple. If we waited for others to be doing improvement as a condition for us to do improvement, we would never do improvement. We can only improve ourselves and our own processes and set an example for others. How do we encourage others to improve? By setting the example.
The beauty of this tool is that it helps teams to develop all the parts of a process at once, so that measuring and managing is considered at the same time as developing processes and writing procedures. It's also easily communicated to multiple process users, making it much easier to achieve a standard approach.