In the KaiZone Friday Favorites, I present my top ten favorite articles from the last week (give or take a few days) in the world of Lean – 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!
10. How to Create a Dysfunctional Culture where Employees and Customers are Unhappy by Mark Graban. “Engaged employees lead to happy customers — and sustainable business success. It’s often instructive, however, to see or hear about a broken and dysfunctional culture. Sometimes the clearest examples of WHAT to do come from looking at what NOT to do.”
9. Labor Unions and Lean by Bob Emiliani. “For nearly 100 years, labor union leaders have preferred to use progressive (Lean) management as a wedge issue to create contention between labor and management, when instead they could work to understand Lean management and hold management accountable to its correct practice.”
8. When “Lean” is Watered Down to “The Customer is King” by Michael Baudin. “In this article, Lean boils down to “maximizing customer value using fewer resources.” If that is what Lean is, then I don’t know any businessperson — from my local dry-cleaner to the CEO of a major manufacturing company — who would not claim to [be] doing it. “The customer is king” is Business 101, not the defining characteristic of TPS or Lean.”
7. Want to Make Better Decisions? Simplify…by Pascal Dennis. “Developing and deploying strategy entails hundreds or even thousands of decisions in a given year. How do we make better decisions? Start by simplifying the chess board. Eliminate trivial, marginal, unnecessary and wasteful activities and factors.”
6. The Silent Andon Cord by Daniel Markovitz. “The sound of silence from your colleagues is a signal that they need help.”
5. Just a Simple Strategy by Kevin Meyer. “Very concisely, what are the three, at most four long-term strategies that your organization needs to be focused on? What three or four measurable objectives must happen in the intermediate three to five year time fram for that to happen? What four or five projects must be accompllished this year to enable that? Then, perhaps most importantly, what is your organization working on right now that doesn’t align with that plan? Stop it.”
4. To Create Change, Leadership is More Important than Authority by Greg Satell. “Control is an illusion and always has been an illusion. Higher status—or even a persuasive presentation full of facts—is of limited utility. The lunatics run the asylum, the best we can do as leaders is empower them to run it right. And that’s why change always requires leadership rather than authority. Respectable people always prefer incumbency to disruption. Only misfits are threatened by the status quo. So if you want to create real change, it is not power and influence that you need, but those who seek to overthrow them.”
3. Do CEOs Matter? an Interview with John Shook. “We’re focusing too much on the CEO. The question really should be, what are the most useful things to focus on? Organizations are ultimately collections of individuals, so we have to look at each individual, where they need to go. That applies to the CEO, and it also applies to the managers, workers, and also, indirectly, to customers and shareholders.
2. Lean Quote: Getting out of Your Comfort Zone by Tim McMahon. “Ships aren’t built so they can sit there in a harbor. Ships are built for sailing and adventures in the sea. There may be risks, but hey, that’s what the ship was made to do. Much like a person can be safe and comfortable with status quo, but that’s not the point of improvement. The point of continuous improvement is to explore and challenge our understanding, not to mindlessly accept what we have always done.”
And this week’s favorite article goes to . . .
1. Always Made in America by Bruce Hamilton. “Mr. Ohba had a way of asking great questions to make you think, but I was always amazed by his humility. He always would say that “nobody is an expert.” I interpreted that as we are always learning. So, my biggest learning through all of my experience is that lean gives us a vehicle to do great things by unlocking the potential of our people. Lean, Kaizen, continuous improvement — whatever you call it — is the competitive advantage as long as it is used to nurture and grow your folks!”
Have a good article to share with The KaiZone community? Feel free to post it in the comments section below. Have a great weekend, friends!