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archives

management

This tag is associated with 28 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

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Kaizen & Changing the Way People Think

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein For most people, structured problem-solving is not a natural process.  After years of being rewarded for quick answers and telling people what to do, along with the fact that most of us are overloaded, the ability to approach a problem without a preconceived solution is counter to the way people work.  Many see structured … Continue reading

Flattening the Organization- Probably Not the Answer

One of the reasons often given for eliminating layers of management is that managers get in the way and slow down processes. Although often true, eliminating layers is not necessarily addressing the root cause of the problem. The company can benefit more by understanding why its leadership is ineffective and its processes and systems are slow, rather than assuming it is because of excessive layers. 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

What Matters More? Process or Results

If the room is too cold, do you work on the thermometer or the heater? Which is more important . . . process or results? It’s a question that spurs debate on bulletin boards and in blog posts. The problem with the question is that it approaches the two as disconnected rather than one-in-the same. … Continue reading

Simple Formulas Are Nice But They Don’t Work

Although controlling costs is obviously important, companies are not in business to save costs. If your approach to managing costs is not backed by knowledge, you can wind up saving your way into oblivion. Continue reading

Lean and 6-Sigma: Still Not the Same

Although they have been in practice for many years and are very distinct approaches, many people continue to think of lean and 6-sigma as one in the same.  There are even some people claiming to be experts who don’t understand the difference.  And the use of terms like “lean sigma,” only serves to further confuse … Continue reading

2013 Annual Management Improvement Carnival: The Drucker Exchange

Although I agree that it is possible to over-standardize a process, I found the example to be a bit of a stretch. In my experience, I find that a lack of standardization is much more of a problem than over-standardizing. The detail of a procedure or instruction should be to the extent necessary to assure effectiveness. In many manufacturing environments where more of the environment can be controlled, for example, standard work can be much tighter than in a sales situation. With that said, however, I believe that a sales process can also benefit from some level of standardization. In fact, the consequences of a lack of standardization in sales can be just as destructive for the company as overstandardizing. Continue reading

Lean and Project Management

I regularly run into people from the project world who feel that lean does not apply to the work they do.  While some people are just not open to change, I find that a larger part of this belief stems from the misconception that lean is only applicable to manufacturing or operations environments.  This is unfortunate … Continue reading

Maslow: Still Relevant 70 Years Later

Being an effective leader is not easy. With all of the external factors that can affect performance seemingly coming at an ever-increasing pace, keeping an organization performing at a high level can be a difficult job. With the continual changes in technology, markets, and regulations, however, the most difficult aspect of leadership continues to be … Continue reading