management

Management is a role. Leadership is an act.

10.16.2013

My friend John Hunter who’s mix of insight and intellectual integrity has been a strong role model in the blogging world of continuous improvement. His Curious Cat Management Improvement blog is a great tribute to its own name, and John’s comments often embarrass me by going deeper than my own blog posts. So, I had […]

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Are you working on the right problems?

05.17.2012

Lean is not all about waste, despite what we see in most definitions and applications. If it were about one thing (which oversimplifies things) it would be about problem solving, at all levels of the organization. We take problem solving for granted. Why? Because we’ve been doing it since we were very young. We learned […]

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10 Management Traps – and How to Avoid Them

04.30.2011

Recently Steve Minter of Industry Week interviewed a range of people for an article he titled 10 Management Traps – and How to Avoid Them. The ten traps he lists are: 1. Not ‘Nipping it in the Bud’ 2. Squelching the Flow of Bad News 3. Doing Drop-Down Work 4. Spending Too Much Time on […]

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The Fine Line Between Micro-Management and Surfacing Problems

02.21.2011

Not many people want to be the victim of micro-management. And most managers don’t espouse operating that way. But not all micro-management is created equal. As organizations pursue lean effort,s I see a tension between making problems visible and micro-management. Many organizations are very sensitive to anything that feels like micro-management, even just a detailed […]

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First Steps Video: Standard Questions for Your One-on-One Meetings

09.27.2010

Do you meet with the members of your team one-on-one? Does your boss do it with you? The one-on-one meeting is a staple practice in effective management. How can you make it more effective? By developing a list of most-effective questions that you can use. This is the next topic in our First Steps Video […]

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Valid or reliable – take your pick

07.27.2010

Last week we had an interesting conversation. It started as a discussion about projects, particularly how you make sure you projects are going in the right direction. Ideally, you should choose how you’re going to be measuring yourself before, during, and after the project. If you wait to the end to say “how do we […]

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Forget SMART Goals – Do you have DUMB goals?

07.14.2010

A lot is written and taught about developing SMART goals. I wrote about the topic earlier this year when everyone was developing their annual goals in the post Forget the New Year’s Resolutions. There are mistakes in developing goals that I find far too common. Let’s call them DUMB goals. It’s not that the people […]

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The Value of Rules

06.28.2010

NCIS has been one of the most popular shows on television for years now. I generally don’t like TV crime dramas, but my wife has gotten me a bit into this one over time. The lead character is Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon. Gibbs has a number of rules. His team learns these […]

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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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Everyone is responsible for their systems

05.19.2010

In the lean mindset, there is generally an intent to show respect for people, to blame the system instead of the individual, and give people what they need to be successful. But how far should we go to avoid blame? Who is ultimately responsible for the system that generates the results? Must we go all […]

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