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!
For this edition of TheKaiZone Friday Favorites, we’re traveling back in time to the year . . . 2014. Consider this the final compilation of the Friday Favorites for 2014, as next week we will announce the winners of the 2014 Leany Awards for excellence in lean blogging. Hey, better late than never, right?
The Top 10 Lean Blog Posts for January 23rd, 2015
10. You Can’t Kaizen Chaos by Danielle Blais. “This simple story is a good reminder for all of us to ask ourselves if we even have enough stability of our processes to begin improving them. Are we operating in chaos or do we have a handle on what the work is, what the main problems are, whose responsibilities are whose, who can offer help/support if trouble arises, and how we work together as a team?”
9. The Value of Not Knowing by Ron Pereira. “Simply giving information can hinder the learning process and weaken the skills of the learner. Learning how to learn is more important than the subject matter to be learned. We certainly want the learner to be able to do the job. We also want the learner to think of a way to improve the process.”
8. Toyota Production System Video Series – Part Two: Problem Solving by Matt Elson.
7. Bringing Me Problems is OK, We’ll Find Solutions Together by Mark Graban. “It’s a bit of a modern management cliché to say “Don’t bring problems! Bring me solutions!” I think what that means is “Don’t just complain! Think about improving things!” It’s good to think about improvement, but sometimes (if not often!) that improvement process starts by identifying problems.”
6. One of My Least Favorite Questions by Jamie Flinchbaugh. “I get a lot of questions – during my coaching and advisory visits, after delivering a speech, by email, by phone, and sometimes from conversations started in airports. I try to answer every last one of them, which could be a full time job all by itself. But there is one question that is one of the most common I receive yet a question I really dislike. What company is really good at lean?”
5. Are You Process or Results Oriented? In a Lean Transformation, People Must Know the How if they are to Succeed by Malgorzata Jakubik & Robert Kagan. “We have heard it for years: we need good processes to produce good results. Still, when it comes to actual strategies, there seems to be an insurmountable difficulty of switching the everyday focus from what and how much we need to achieve to how we should behave to achieve it.”
4. People Aren’t Tools by Bill Waddell. “People and culture are the heart of lean manufacturing. Tools come and go, technology changes and someone more clever than us will conjure up a better kanban formula. But a business driven by empowered, committed people at every level, all pursuing little fixes and little improvements every day is the enduring engine that enables lean companies to thrive and grow year after year after year.”
3. A Holiday Miracle by Bruce Hamilton. “As Goodyear’s Billy Taylor put it at our Northeast Lean Conference “if you make somebody visible you make them valuable.” This is culture change, one small miracle at a time. But managers have to “want to make it happen every day.” It’s management’s part of “everybody everyday.” My New Year’s challenge to every manager: Show your personal passion for continuous improvement every day. Make the miracle happen in your organization. Make your employees and yourself visible.”
2. Ohno’s Problem-Solving Methods by Bob Emiliani. “It s remarkable how most leaders are satisfied with the types of problems caused by batch-and-queue processing which reduce performance and threaten the long-term survival of the business, instead of preferring to live with the types of problems caused by flow which improve performance and strengthen the long-term survival of the business. But, to do that, leaders have to respect people and make it safe for people to understand problems and correct them by both trial and error and experiments.”
For this week’s Friday Favorite, we have what I hope will be the start of something very special from the Lean Post. When executed properly, lean thinking has the potential to transform an organization and to truly superior business results. But perhaps lean is most powerful when applied for the greater good. It’s one thing to impact the bottom line; it’s a whole different level of impact, however, to positively affect a life in need. In a future post here on TheKaiZone, I will be sharing my own experiences with lean skill-based volunteering. In the meantime, please read the below post and consider how YOU can make a difference.
1. Public Service: Lean’s Next Frontier? by John O’Donnell & Lex Schroeder. “We believe the Lean for social good movement goes far beyond reporting improvement metrics, reductions in processing steps, or reducing the time it takes to get a license. Lean is a way to improve the lives of individuals and communities, whether that’s preserving and creating quality jobs; bringing together children in need of a loving home with couples who are able to provide one; providing food services to struggling, proud families with dignity; helping startups and social enterprises build sustainable businesses that treat people well; or improving education processes so more time is spent developing and coaching future generations.”
Have a good weekend, friends!