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management

This category contains 81 posts

Slowing Down to Speed Up

Borrowing From Neuroscience to Drive Kaizen Thinking “If you are going to do TPS you must do it all the way. You also need to change the way you think. You need to change how you look at things.” – Taiichi Ohno One of the most common issues lean coaches face when teaching structured problem-solving is keeping people … Continue reading

Why Questioning is Critical to Lean Leadership

One of the reasons that people have difficulty with coaching is that those of us who teach and write about lean are likely sending mixed messages regarding the why and how of the process. On the one hand, we tell leaders that they don’t need to be experts in everything and that it is okay to admit that they don’t have all the answers. On the other hand, we talk about people like Taiichi Ohno and Hajime Oba and the ability these people had to see problems quickly and clearly, and coach others to the answers.  I believe that this turns people off of the process because most will never measure up to these legendary leaders. In actuality, these two and other legendary lean figures didn’t know the answers but they did know how to use questioning to gather facts (or identify when the facts are not yet gathered) and help the person being coached to arrive at an answer.  Continue reading

Motivation and Helping People Learn, Make a Difference, and Have Fun

“Why are we here?  To learn, to make a difference, and to have fun.” – W. Edwards Deming  Many years ago, I was fortunate enough on a couple occasions to attend W. Edward Deming’s 4-day seminar.  Early in both seminars, Dr. Deming asked attendees, “Why are we here?” After waiting in silence and repeating the question, he would offer up the notion that we are here “to learn, … Continue reading

Kaizen & Changing the Way People Think

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein For most people, structured problem-solving is not a natural process.  After years of being rewarded for quick answers and telling people what to do, along with the fact that most of us are overloaded, the ability to approach a problem without a preconceived solution is counter to the way people work.  Many see structured … Continue reading

Flattening the Organization- Probably Not the Answer

One of the reasons often given for eliminating layers of management is that managers get in the way and slow down processes. Although often true, eliminating layers is not necessarily addressing the root cause of the problem. The company can benefit more by understanding why its leadership is ineffective and its processes and systems are slow, rather than assuming it is because of excessive layers. Continue reading

Driving Improvement Through Systems Thinking

The more people learn the connections the components have with each other to achieve the overall business objectives, the easier it will be to see the problems and set improvement targets based on reality rather than gut feel. Continue reading

Short-Term vs Long-Term: They Both Matter

Over the years, I have found many organizations the lack the ability to effectively balance short-term pressures with long-term improvement. The situation causes frustration in people because, in the end, the short-term virtually always wins while the focus on the long-term suffers. There are a number of reasons for a tendency toward short-term thinking. First of all, people tend to be measured and rewarded based on achieving current year targets much more than long-term improvements.  Another factor driving a short-term focus is the targets are right … Continue reading

When Lean Fails

Many companies today are jumping on the lean bandwagon and expecting huge cost reductions as a result.  Unfortunately, many of these companies will never see the type of improvements they expect from lean, and their leaders will likely become disappointed and frustrated, and eventually abandon the effort. There are a number of reasons companies fail … Continue reading

Is Management a Liberal Art?

No matter how talented a company’s specialists are; without a common direction and continual effort to improve the way people interact and work together, there is no “organization” – there are only individuals working on what each feels is most important. Continue reading

The Lean Formula

The entire effort must be directed toward achieving the organization’s aim. Without clarity around the purpose (including the mission and vision), efforts to improve will be isolated and disconnected. The annual plan will have nothing with which to align, and overall results will be disappointing. Continue reading