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archives

problem-solving

This tag is associated with 32 posts

Identifying Proper Leading Metrics

The problems people have related to identifying leading metrics often result from failing to connect the effort to problem-solving. Attempting to determine the proper leading metrics in isolation from problem-solving often leads to frustration and wasted effort in creating and maintaining the measures, and a lack of clarity in understanding how to improve performance of lagging metrics. Continue reading

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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

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 Case Against the Flat Organization

Since the 1990s, consultants and authors have been touting the benefits of the flat organization.  Among the advantages commonly associated with flattened organizations are improved innovation, empowered employees, and faster decision-making.  I’ve worked with many “flat” organizations over the years and, rather than improved flexibility and increased speed, found burned out managers, frustrated employees, and … Continue reading

Using Dashboards to Improve Leadership

I have found very few people today who don’t agree that lean makes sense for business. Leading a team, plant, or organization, however, is a complex and challenging responsibility, and with a host of responsibilities and competing priorities and pressures, it’s realistic to expect a leader to change his or her way of leading just because it makes sense. The best way to help people understand how the work they do can align with these four responsibilities is to show them. By going to gemba and demonstrating how the elements of lean work together to drive improvement, those you are coaching will begin to understand how the philosophy connects to real work. Continue reading

Systems Thinking & Lean Leadership

One aspect of lean that often gets overlooked is the depth of systems thinking required to be successful. For a variety of reasons, people like to jump into the more visible and concrete elements of lean – like dashboards or problem-solving – without clearly understanding the organizational elements that are necessary to support and sustain continual improvement. Continue reading

The Lean Formula

The entire effort must be directed toward achieving the organization’s aim. Without clarity around the purpose (including the mission and vision), efforts to improve will be isolated and disconnected. The annual plan will have nothing with which to align, and overall results will be disappointing. Continue reading

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