In the KaiZone Friday Favorites, I present my top ten favorite articles from the last two weeks in the world of Lean, continuous improvement and beyond. With leading content from the world’s foremost improvement authors and future lean leaders, I do the research so you don’t have to!
The Top 10 Lean Blog Posts for December 5th, 2014
10. Quality Isn’t Fluff by Tim McMahon. “According to a study covered in a recent Harvard Business Review article, companies with highly developed quality cultures spend, on average, $350 million less annually fixing mistakes than companies with poorly developed ones. . . Although figures will vary according to industry and company, the report’s authors, suggested a broad rule of thumb: For every 5,000 employees, moving from the bottom to the top quintile would save a company $67 million annually.”
9. Dead See Scrolls by Bruce Hamilton. “The focus shifted in the early ’90s from Total Employee Involvement to Some Employee Involvement: Blitz Kaizen teams and black belts and subject matter experts and value stream leaders, none of which existed in the pre-Lean era. Maybe the Total part was just too hard or too foreign, so we retreated to our caste system of thinkers and doers and glommed onto the technical part of TPS. Technical problems, after all, are always so much easier to solve than people problems.”
8. Strong Coaches are there to Develop Internal Leaders and Coaches by Jeff Liker. ” When there are strong coaches their role should be to develop internal lean leaders and coaches. The people who resonate with strong teachers and develop the right skills are not always those with the strongest academic credentials. We have seen in many cases a skilled trades specialist, an hourly team member, a supervisor who get the passion for lean and have all the right personal attributes to be strong change agents.”
7. Organizational Renovation by James Little. “Organizational transformation is more like a home renovation. Everything’s disrupted for a while. It’s a mess. Bits of the structure are unusable. But we put up with it, because we know we’re going to get a better place to live. When we talk to people at work about “organizational transformation” or “agile transformation,” most people – including us – don’t know what we’re talking about. It’s too big, too vague, too unseen, too magical. Let’s talk about renovation. Everyone’s seen at least one – and lived through it. It’s something real, familiar, manageable, and within our grasp.”
6. Toyota Production System Video Series – Part One: Standardized Work by Matt Elson.
5. What is the Role of a Sensei in a Lean Organization? by Michael Ballé & Dan Jones. “Contrarily to archetypical images the sensei is neither a guru nor a mystical master, but as literally translated from the Japanese, “a person born before”, someone with the experience and the grey hair required to support leaders in their drive to find leaner solutions to their work challenges and how to involve and engage their employees in this voyage of discovery. So what is the role of a sensei? It is to make sure that leader’s and employee’s learning curves develop hand in hand: they learn, you learn.”
4. Role of Ethnography and Qualitative Research in Problem Solving by Pete Abila. “Whenever the research is about a process, an interaction between people, or an interaction between people and something in their environment, we know we can learn valuable things by observation that can’t be learned by talking. Sometimes the way to communicate is by keeping quiet and letting people show you the answer.”
3. Skateboarding and a Path to Discovery by Steve Kane. “One of greatest hurdles leaders face is leading people beyond disbelief to discovery. A big part of a leader’s job is to teach, coach, mentor and inspire. I’m not so sure people need to be told how to improve so much as they need to discover what improvement is possible.”
2. GTS6 + E3 = DNA (Break the Code for Standardization, Sustainability, and Kaizen) by Tracey Richardson. “Does this GTS6 + E3 = DNA equation for lean leadership solve every problem for your organization? No. But it does describe at a high level of all actions leaders must take if they want to support a long-term, sustainable culture of problem solving. A culture where people feel empowered to make a difference for their organization and have a stake in the company’s overall success. Job security = problems solved.”
For this edition’s Friday Favorite from the Lean Post, Brent Wahba reminds us that the journey to lean is deeply personal . . .
1. What Should Lean Mean to Us? by Brent Wahba. “I am not sure that “What’s Lean?” really matters as much as this forward-looking question: “What Should Lean Mean To Us?” A problem is just the gap between where you are now and where you need to be. If you are working on the problem of how to begin your situational Lean journey, what is the gap between your current mental model of Lean and what Lean needs to be to deliver success in your specific circumstances?”
If you’ve been following along with The KaiZone over the last two months, you may have noticed a slight decline in the number of new articles that I have been posting. While I’d love to say that I was simply experimenting with a “less is more” content strategy, that would, alas, be a lie. It’s time to come clean with you all. The truth is, I’ve simply found it difficult to carve out writing time lately . . . and I couldn’t be happier about it! How so? I’ve done a thorough root cause analysis and can trace back my decline in productivity to the discovery that next spring – GOD willing – we will be welcoming our 4th little one to the world!
As we prepare to move our soon-to-be family of six out of our “starter home”, new content may be slow at times, but I can promise you one thing: there will be no shortage of Leanable Moments to write about! With 4 children under the age of 5, we’re going to need it!
Thanks to all in The KaiZone Community for your support during this busy and exciting time!
Have a good weekend, friends!