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archives

continual improvement

This tag is associated with 36 posts

Problem-Solving vs Kaizen: Are They Different?

One of the most important – and elusive – objectives of lean is creating a culture of continual improvement throughout an organization. In most cases, this requires changing the way people think and approach their work, and although helping people transform is never easy, it becomes even more difficult when those driving lean are not … Continue reading

Lean: What Most People Miss

The first step is transformation of the individual . . . The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people. – W. Edwards Deming I reflect on a regular basis about why companies struggle with the application of lean within their businesses. Countless organizations have tried … Continue reading

Lean: Forget the Score and Focus on the Point

Changing the culture requires helping people understand that every instance where a standard is not met is a problem and needs to be resolved. Doing this requires spending time at gemba to see when it happens, helping people recognize the small problems that happen (or validating that the problems are important enough to address), and coaching people to effectively solve problems. The objective is to get people solving the problems they face every day. 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

Stop Jumping to Countermeasures

As strange as it may seem, one way to get people to correctly follow a PDSA-based problem-solving process is to convince them to forget much of what they know and approach at least the early steps in the process as if they don’t completely understand the situation. Continue reading

Should HR Make Hiring Decisions?

This sounds like an exaggeration but most companies make poor hiring decisions every day. Unless the organization has a clear idea of its desired culture and the DNA of its people, and has a method to screen candidates to assure a proper match, its chances of creating the desired culture are very small. Continue reading

I Already Know Lean

Although some people have more of an inclination toward lean thinking than others, everybody needs some level of learning or coaching to develop it more deeply. The conventional western approach to business over the last century runs so counter to lean that a deep level of reprogramming is necessary for most people. The problem for those leading the transformation, though, is to convince those who already do lean that, although they may apply components of it to their work, the big gains from lean come when it is understood and applied as a system. Continue reading

Innovation for the Sake of Innovation

“Our whole company is founded on the principle that there is something very different that happens with one person, one computer.” – Steve Jobs The May issue of Fortune Magazine included an article called, “Startups . . . Inside Giant Companies,” which presented the latest approach companies are using to drive innovation.  The article included … Continue reading

Using Catchball to Bring Down the Silos

“What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.” – W. Edwards Deming One of the most … 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

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