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This tag is associated with 29 posts

Where Problem-Solving Goes Wrong: Helping People Better Understand A3 Thinking

In a previous post, I presented the idea that problem-solving, although critically important to an organization’s success, is not given the focus it deserves.  As a result of this, few problems are addressed effectively, leading organizations to face the same issues again and again. Just like learning tennis or golf, improving the ability to solve problems requires … Continue reading

We Don’t Make Cars: Applying Lean to Other Industries

People don’t go to Toyota to work, they go there to think” – Taiichi Ohno Although much of what we now call lean has been practiced by Toyota and its suppliers for decades, most of the world began to learn about it in the 1990s with books like The Machine that Changed the World and … Continue reading

The Objective of Problem-Solving is Not Solving the Problem

What many fail to understand is, when the focus of problem-solving is results, very little learning takes place, but when the focus is learning, more significant and sustainable results will follow. 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

No Systems Thinking in Trump’s Plans

Another difficult to quantify consequence of significant tariff increases is the effect on developing nations that rely on access to the U.S. market to continue growing. The administration wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep people from crossing into the U.S. illegally. Since many of those coming into the U.S. from Latin America do so for economic reasons, raising tariffs and pressuring manufacturers to scrap foreign factories to build in the U.S. will result in lost jobs and other problems for those countries. It seems logical then, that this action could actually increase the number of people attempting to cross into the U.S. to escape poverty. 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

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

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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