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management

This category contains 76 posts

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

Want Lean to Succeed? Stop Focusing on Waste!

Although one of the most significant benefits of lean is the reduction of waste, it is not enough to say that lean is about reducing waste.  This may sound confusing, but those organizations that focus too heavily on waste as they go into lean tend to be the ones that become disappointed with the effort … Continue reading

The Science of Dashboards

One of the elements of lean that seems simple but is often misunderstood is the development and use of dashboards.  People are often surprised to learn that there is a science to creating an effective dashboard and that it consists of much more than posting metrics related to the area. A dashboard should drive development … Continue reading

The Many Benefits of Standardized Work

“Where there is no standard, there can be no kaizen.” – Taiichi Ohno The above quote by Taiichi Ohno is used frequently to emphasize the importance of standardized work.  It’s one of those statements, though, that is so simple that I believe many people miss the true depth and significance of standardized work to an … Continue reading

The Lean Coaching Script

Fortunately, there are four basic questions that leaders can apply in a variety of situations that, when done consistently, can drive the type of thinking that leads to improved performance throughout the organization. The questions are based on teaching and reinforcing a standard way of looking at results to identify problems and make improvements. The questions can be applied in a variety of situations to develop a lean mindset throughout the organization. A further benefit of the questions is that they develop the ability of leaders to coach. And this is all done real-time, using actual data from real processes. Continue reading

Does Learning Happen in the Classroom?

The difference between coaching and the classroom for leadership development is that coaching occurs real-time in meetings and at gemba. A great place to coach a production supervisor, for example, is on the shop floor in front of her team’s dashboard. Reviewing the board to understand why certain metrics are being reported, how they are being used to drive improvement, how processes are actually operating, what the metrics are telling the team, and what they’re doing about the problems are all part of the conversation that can help develop the supervisor’s abilities to drive improvement. When done regularly, this type of conversation is far more effective than sending the supervisor to a one-week course on becoming a better leader. Continue reading