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coaching

This tag is associated with 12 posts

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

Lean Leadership: A Direction . . . Not a Destination

One of the problems with some of the books and articles on lean leadership is the tendency to oversimplify the concept in terms of a dictator versus coach.  It is too easy for people to read about the characteristics of a traditional manager and, because they aren’t that bad, surmise that they are therefore a lean leader.  What many do not understand, though, is that the difference between a traditional manager and a lean leader is not … Continue reading

Why People Don’t Develop

Organizations that do not value development tend to put more pressure on completing performance review on schedule than worrying about whether or not it actually results in improvement. In this type of environment, managers often feel they are fulfilling their responsibility as a leader by having one or two conversations per year related to development. Continue reading

Lean Leadership: Shifting from Doing to Teaching

It is difficult for someone who has been rewarded many years for being a problem-solver to suddenly shift behavior from solving problems to teaching others how to solve problems. It can be a difficult habit to break that requires patience, perseverance, and a method to help leaders do it. 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 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

Kaizen for Leaders

Developing problem-solving skills across the organization starts at the top and cascades downward through coaching and developing the abilities of leaders and team members at all levels. Leaders need to take responsibility for creating a continual improvement culture by modeling a kaizen mindset and coaching the ability of others – including future leaders – to do the same. Continue reading

Creating a Continuous Improvement Culture Requires More Than Logic

Appealing to common sense and logic by discussing issues like competitive position, rising costs, or falling revenues will only get you so far in sparking an ongoing improvement effort. Even establishing programs that reward and recognize people for implementing improvements seldom drives the type of behavior that is needed to sustain the change. Continue reading

Deadwood and Leadership

“Were they dead when you hired them? Or did you kill them?* –  W. Edwards Deming Who is responsible for the poor performers in an organization? These are the people about whom leaders regularly complain and blame for many of the company’s problems. According to Jack Welch, they are the 10% of the workforce who … Continue reading

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