April 24, 2014

It’s just a half glass of water.

glass of water
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The old question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” draws the line between optimists and pessimists. Deciding if the glass is half empty or half full, however, is more about seeing the future, or believing that you can, than it is about seeing what’s right in front of you.

Why must the glass be on its way to gaining or losing? [Read more]

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Together is Better: Employee Safety and Lean Practices

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TweetThe safety of employees is among one of the top ranking objectives of most businesses. When an employee becomes injured at work, there are many consequences that can come into play such as loss of a skilled employee, worker’s compensation claims, and possibly an OSHA investigation. When an employee is injured it takes a toll [...]

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“Discipline, effort, patience and courage”

patience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrosepatience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrose
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Thanks to StumbleUpon, I came across on article on Psychology Today entitled “What to Tell Kids After Failures and Mistakes.” The Author, Salmansohn, describes some recent research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck, who advocates an “Incremental theory” of learning.

Incremental Theorists believe that success is achieved through putting in the necessary hard work. According to Dr. Dweck, a big key to a successful life is to embrace being an “Incremental Theorist” – so when failure or disappointments occur, you are ready to overcome them.

This quote from the article is powerful: “Discipline, effort, patience and courage are hugely important core values for kids to grow up embracing.”

They are also hugely important core values for adults to maintain, too. [Read more]

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Beware the surge

Storm Surge by jedidogbert
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I have witnessed or been a part of multiple process improvement efforts – whether they are small in nature and affect only a few people, or large, transformational endeavors designed to reshape the culture of an organization, if not its entire business model. Some of them succeed, some of them fail, all of them go through a period of a quick, immediate up-tick in performance that looks and feels like success. A while later, however, there is a let-down.

I suspect, however, that the problem when it comes to facilitating adoption isn’t so much one of driving people to the intended outcome, but in allowing people to change the outcome. [Read more]

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The value of delayed decisions

decisions by mihaibrrr
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Most conversations about improvement revolve around finding ways to speed things up. Whether by focusing on the elimination of unnecessary activities, doing less more often, reducing clutter, training the mind to avoid multitasking, or any other approach to speeding up decision making the prevailing message is clear: do things faster.

The desire to do things faster necessitates making decisions faster, of course. Process improvement schools of thought are, essentially, designed to speed up decision making to one degree or another. Last year, I came across Frank Partnoy’s Wait, however, which advocated something different – slowing things down. [Read more]

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Stump the Chump, and the Steve Jobs Paradox?

Paradox
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I was asked a question that – as I put it, “Stumped the Chump.” One gentleman asked, in response to the portions of my presentation that focused on the Respect for People foundation of Lean and, in particular, the Shingo model, how I would characterize Steve Jobs and Apple’s success, given that Jobs was a well-known egomaniac and had a reputation for being quite stern and non-compromising.

it has stuck with me for the past couple of weeks, as I felt the need to contemplate the question a bit further. What I may have come to realize, is that there is something of a Paradox involved when a true visionary ascends to the position of influence within an organization.
[Read more]

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Why your PMP prep doesn’t feel like reality (and why it shouldn’t)

A Break in Reality
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I feel lucky to have the benefit of my time spent trying to understand the Lean paradigm because it is offering so much insight into what the PMI framework is trying to do. It is establishing a standard. It is offering a methodology for managing projects against which all other management styles, and outcomes, can be measured. In a way, it depicts the ideal – if all projects, everywhere, operated in the way the PMI describes, then all projects would deliver on time, within budget, and with inputs from all stakeholders at every level of the organization – including customers.

Is that reality? No. Of course not. [Read more]

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The paradoxical inefficiency of thought

Imagination
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In order to attain high levels of ingenuity in products and activities, the environment in which those ideas are created must support an endless ocean of thoughts that yield very little value, in the hopes that, eventually, a single very good one will be produced. Generating ideas is an inefficient process, even if those ideas are generated around improving efficiency. [Read more]

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Product Innovation vs Operational Excellence (or, Magic vs. Might?)

Warrior vs Sorcerer
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Product innovation appears to be the realm of the unexplainable – that the way to go about that business is to assume a muse, or some divine spark is, ultimately, going to descend upon the workers bees and imbue them with the powers of insight and creativity. You have to create innovation space, and adopt managerial styles and practices, that allow creativity to flourish.

Process innovation, on the other hand, is seen as something a little more grungy and foul-smelling. It is the world of brute force and awkwardness, no matter how elegant it tries to become. [Read more]

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Human Capital Management and Lean Transformation Go Hand-in-Hand

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It’s common for organizations to begin their Lean journeys focusing on production, operations and Lean tools. It’s only after toiling at it for a couple of years that they realize they should’ve focused sooner on the human capital aspects of creating lasting change. Commonalities between operational improvement and managing involvement are significant, particularly with regard to three critical work streams often overseen by the Human Resources (HR) arm of human capital [Read more]

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