change agents

The Founder and Experimentation

06.27.2017

Learning what works and what doesn’t work is driven by experimentation, real-world trials that inform us about cause and effect. How do we improve the ability to experiment? By reducing the cost, the effort, the friction required to test what works. As we continue my effort to de-jargonize (ok, that’s not a real word) lean […]

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People Bottlenecks

06.20.2017

In the flow of a manufacturing plant, the bottleneck should often be the most valuable, or at least most expensive asset. We actually should be designing our processes around that fact, and then ensuring there is no unnecessary waste in the process that affects that bottleneck. In the Theory of Constraints, this is called “elevate […]

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Losing Control of Your Lean Journey [Lessons from the Road]

02.11.2015

Do you feel a little out of control of your lean journey? Good. The lean journey is not one that can be so self-contained that one person or team can keep their arms around it. If they can, it either hasn’t reached that important transitional point, or you are choking it off. In this month’s […]

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Carry the wounded and shoot the stragglers: dealing with cynics and skeptics

12.02.2013

This post originally appeared on the Lean Learning Center blog. A question frequently asked of me is “what do I do about the people who won’t get on board?” This is too broad of a question, because there isn’t a single answer to the question, except “it depends.” What does it depend on? Primarily, the […]

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If you’re not frustrated, then you’re not working on the right problem.

01.03.2011

In my coaching, many of my conversations begin with a source of frustration by the individual. The source of frustration could be rooted in another person, or a team problem, or in their own abilities. But nonetheless, the frustration is there. This is a good thing. The philosophy that I’ve embraced is… If you’re not […]

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The North Wind and the Sun

11.04.2010

I’ve enjoyed connecting the fables of Aesop to lessons in lean and leadership. You can read my previous posts here. Here is a lesson about change management. How do you get engagement? How do you get compliance? The North Wind and the Sun A dispute arose between the North Wind and the Sun, each claiming […]

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Your own worst enemy

08.11.2010

I witness lean change agents get in their own way all the time. I’m sure I do it too. This is a common example that really can hold back an entire organization on the journey. It is the response to an inflection point. Change agents, of any kind of change, often begin by pushing against […]

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The Power of 1

04.22.2010

Last week I was visiting a very large operation in Costa Rica. As the strategy was being discussed, I noticed that we were going to review 5S efforts later in my visit. I started questioning this line of thought, because they had so many things going on in their organization and it was so large, […]

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Fail, Learn, Lead

01.18.2010

Do you have a lot of room in your organization for people to learn? Or as soon as they step out of their comfort zone, do things get a little scary? What you do as a leader has a huge impact on the behaviors of others in terms of their own learning. Scott Burken, author […]

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Successful Lean Steering Committees

12.21.2009

Do you have a group of people leading lean? Whether formal or informal, there is often such as group particularly early in the lean journey (meaning the first several years). I get a lot of questions by email, some by clients and others by readers. Many are two specific to the situation to share, but […]

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