human resources

How “flat” should an organization really be? Zappos eliminates managers

01.09.2014

Lean means getting rid of managers, developing a flat organizational structure, and abdicating all responsibilities to the front line employees. Right? Too many people just read that without twitching. But it’s wrong. That’s not lean at all. Before going too far, lean also doesn’t mean adding organizational layers. There is no “right” organizational design, but […]

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Are Working on Gaps Always the Best Approach? [Guest Post]

04.20.2011

Guest Post: Shawn Patterson is the Senior Director of Corporate Services at DTE Energy where he is responsible for the Supply Chain, Fleet, Facilities, and Continuous Improvement organizations. Shawn has held numerous positions in multiple industries and is passionate about influencing lean transformations in organizations. We are all familiar with the typical Gap Closure Plan. […]

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The right supervisor ratio

06.01.2010

“How many direct reports do you have?” That used to be a question asked to measure someone’s importance. People wanted control. Building an empire was a status symbol. But that has little to do with effectiveness. I have been writing a lot lately about topics related to organizational design, such as Organizational Design Solves Lean […]

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What is the right span of control for a manager?

05.17.2010

Spans is how broad an individual managers responsibility is defined, be it defined by subordinate ratios, geographic expanse, or process breadth. Layers is is how many levels exist in the organization between an action and a decision. It is best defined by handoffs – how many handoffs are required in the process of making decisions, […]

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Motivation and Incentives in the Lean Company

05.11.2010

Some groups don’t have to worry about motivation. Sports teams, for example, are filled with people who want to win, or at least enjoy trying. But for most of us, don’t have motivation so easy. Truly lean organizations have demonstrated a higher level of motivation, incentive, and engagement. In part it may be because of […]

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Organizational Design Solves Lean Challenges

04.29.2010

Organizational design can be used to solve problems or enhance lean methods. I wrote on the relationship that HR can play with lean, and fitting in with organizational design, in Organizational Design and Role of HR in Lean. Certainly mental models are challenged within a lean journey and the organizational structure must change around these […]

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Creating Employee Engagement, Part 4

03.08.2010

This is the final part of a 4 part series on Creating Employee Engagement. You can first read Parts 1, 2, and 3. Skills Required for Engagement Skill gaps to create engagement exist both in employees and managers, although most transformation efforts tend to focus on only one or the other group. Employees need to […]

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Creating Employee Engagement, Part 3

03.05.2010

This is part 3 on employee engagement. Read Part 1 and Part 2. The Development of Systems to Support Engagement When conducting an assessment, one of the most revealing questions that I seem to ask is “if you have found waste or an opportunity to improve, what do you do with it?” I usually get […]

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Creating Employee Engagement, Part 2

03.03.2010

This is Part 2, you can read Part 1 on Creating Employee Engagement. The Role of Culture in Engagement Culture is the set of shared assumptions, beliefs, and principles that a group or organization holds. It is best measured or observed by the shared behaviors or habits that are exhibited. A certain set of beliefs […]

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Creating Employee Engagement, Part 1

03.01.2010

Learning happens in the classroom. Coaching happens through a formal mentor often away from our work. At least that’s what we’ve been lead to believe.   But that view has many limitations. As it applies to learning, learning is never internalized in the classroom. There is a difference between information, which is in the head, and […]

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