July 25, 2014

Respect for People is not Respect for Person, just ask Clint Eastwood

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On my mind lately is the concept of “Respect for People” that is at the core of Lean and one of the fundamental building blocks of the Shingo Model.

I remember just about 3 years ago, as I was first introduced to Lean via the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, there was a video in which Bruce Hamilton mentioned that, sometimes, leaders need to tell the late adopters to get with the program. “Wait a minute…” I thought. “Doesn’t that contradict the need for management to show concern for each of their charges, and guide them to accepting new ways of thinking & doing?” [Read more]

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ROWE: An attempt at achieving the Lean Ideal?

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In the past few months that I’ve been blogging about ROWE, I have been poking at how the two concepts might help to reinforce each other, with the premise that ROWE-thinking could help to enable Lean-thinking by overcoming the tools-based focus that is so prevalent in Lean implementations and, instead, returning the focus to the culture where I believe it belongs. fter stirring the pot and looking for the common ground between the two, I am now wondering if my original theory – that ROWE could enable Lean – was a bit backwards. [Read more]

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Raising awareness of ROWE and Lean

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Last week, I posted a question on Linked In:

Are Lean/Six Sigma and ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) complimentary, or competing, approaches to workplace transformation?

Both place a heavy emphasis on value and the elimination of any activities that don’t produce that value. Lean, however, advocates an engaged management that is able to “go to Gemba.” In gemba, leaders can observe where value is created in order to find waste and identify areas for improvement. ROWE, however, places a heavy emphasis on worker autonomy and freedom, as long as the Results are achieved. This could lead to the Gemba being anywhere and everywhere, especially for knowledge workers. [Read more]

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So, will culture help me grow my business?

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All business is, to one degree or another, a volume business. The size of a business is determined by its revenues. While nearly every improvement school focuses on lowering costs – do they help to increase revenue? Most businesses will live within a certain margin that is reasonable within the company’s industry. True growth, however, occurs by selling more and increasing the volume of dollars flowing in.

So, how can a business see the impact of adopting progressive cultural experiments on total, overall dollars at its disposal? If you had asked me up until a week ago, my answer would have been: It can’t. [Read more]

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Scholtes: The workplace visionary no one’s heard of

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In recent years, we’ve seen some thought leaders offer up best selling books, visionary programs and torrents of articles and other works describing what is wrong, how to fix it, and attempting to explain the science behind their approaches. In particular, Dan Pink gave us Drive, Best Buy gave us the ROWE experiment, and Lean thinkers continue to encourage us to think of front-line emplyees first, as in Jim Womack’s Gemba Walk.

What I find interesting is that all of these approaches to improving the workplace, at least in part, have some basis in Peter Scholtes 1998 Book, The Leader’s Handbook.
[Read more]

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“…honest, thorough, and ongoing self-criticism…is at the heart of continuous improvement”

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Dissent is, afterall, the outward sign of dissatisfaction combined with the will to say something about it. In no way should we convince ourselves that silence implies consent. Instead, we should first think that silence implies the lack of desire to say what’s on your mind for fear of retribution. So, we return to Deming’s philosophy, which told us to eliminate fear. A lack of dissenting opinion is the manifestation of fear. An explosion of tight agreement is, too.
[Read more]

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Zuckerberg in Boston and the death of old attitudes

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Mark Zuckerberg was in Boston on Monday, looking to recruit MIT and Harvard students for gainful employment with Facebook.

Zuck’s appearance prompted commentator Jon Keller to consider the Facebook founder “foolish” and “callow.”

What Generation Y and the millenials seem to “get” intuitively, and what anyone from the upper reaches of Gen X and beyond seem to struggle with, is that work is not just supposed to be something that allows you to do fulfilling, enjoyable things with your life. Rather, work can and should be something that provides that enjoyment all the time, and that living is something that doesn’t take place outside of 8-5, Monday through Friday. [Read more]

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Family Friday: Hiking Trails and Pretty Pink Dresses

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I was out hiking with my 6-year-old son this weekend at Beaver Brook in Hollis, NH. It was a perfect fall day to be out, and we walked well into the woods and around the pond on a 2 ½ hour trek. While we were out, we learned a few lessons about finding the fascinating in both the unusual, and the ordinary. [Read more]

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Lean principles for knowledge workers (and everyone else)

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There is an article on the Harvard Business Review entitled “Lean Knowledge Work” by Bradley R. Staats and David M. Upton. I think it is one of the more important pieces examining the applicability of Lean concepts to areas other than manufacturing.

The article, in my mind, focuses on the reasons why organizations who commit to Lean end up succeeding. That is, they begin to understand that addressing the mura (unevenness of operations) and muri (overburdening of people and resources) in the workplace as the root cause of muda (waste and inefficiency). [Read more]

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The management lessons of angry birds

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Angry Birds, that time-draining app that has spawned a cult phenomenon and a slew of stuffed toys at Walmart, might seem like an odd place to look for wisdom on accomplishing tasks. Nonetheless, the game offers several highly useful examples of how to manage yourself and others in order to get things accomplished: [Read more]

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