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continuous improvement

This tag is associated with 37 posts

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

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

A Solution Without a Problem

Solving problems does not necessarily entail spending time and money on the latest technology or trend in the field. It does entail spending time at gemba with those who provide value to understand their problems and find ways to help solve them. Although it may involve implementing the latest technology, in many cases it does not. 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

It is Too Easy to Fire People?

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people.  At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy How effective is your hiring process?  How do you know? If it was difficult or impossible to fire people after you hired them, would … Continue reading

Why Companies Hire Poorly

“A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.” – Jim Collins When a company is buying an expensive piece of equipment, there is often a detailed process to justify the expenditure, study the alternatives, and gain approval.  Leaders throughout the organization are often aware of, or … Continue reading

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