July 24, 2014

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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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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Raising awareness of ROWE and Lean, redux

Upon_Reflection_by_Cynnalia
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Where ROWE is cool, and I mean really, really cool – is when it acknowledges the people side of things – that there are concerns outside of work that might keep me from being in the office, and if you let me take care of those things when I need to, I will pay you back with interest. THAT is a good thing. But when the people that do the work are left entirely on their own to organize themselves, without anyone to oversee the process, that is not good management – that is the acceptance of bad management as some kind of innate, inevitable truth. Yes, we need to be much more centered on allowing people the freedom to perform without paternalistic, demeaning oversight. Even the best of flocks need shepherds to guide and direct the herd, though. When the humanistic approach gets elevated, everyone wins. When it gets glorified, everyone loses.
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Position Yourself for Performance Transformation through a Fact-based Plan

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By the time we meet most organizations, they want to get going with their transformation immediately. They often want to rush to implementation without a roadmap, resulting in the classic gotcha of “activity vs. action.” However, without clear direction, activity often swamps out action and fritters away resources fast. Few then remain to make a positive difference, and no lasting benefits accrue. To be effective, organizations need an implementation approach that predictably advances what their enterprise should be doing. [Read more]

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It’s all in how you look at it – current state to ideal state

A_Change_of_Perspective_by_kuschelirmel
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within all the reasons why a process can’t be changed, won’t be changed, or why it did not work last time lies a vital component necessary for overall improvement to begin – a definition of the current state. What all those protestations are giving us is the perception of the current state that is held by the people who are living with whatever process, as suboptimal or utterly broken as it may be.

What the person sees is their reality. A reality where both people and things don’t work. What they are sharing, when they complain, is their knowledge of the way things really work around here. When improvement concepts are introduced, they tend to take the tone of “Here’s the way things can or should work around here.” When poorly introduced, the new ideas sound condescending at best, and threatening at worst. What those ideas represent, however, is the ideal state – the concept of the way things should work, even if we don’t know how to get from here to there.

So, how to overcome the reluctance and resistance? [Read more]

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Unlimited vacation, unlimited responsibility….for management

working outdoors
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The true burden for making unlimited vacation work rests not on the workers for knowing what’s coming down the pipe and, therefore, which days they can take off. The burden rests on low-level managers who are aware of not just the workflow – but also have an emotional connection to the individuals placed within their area of control. The role of management in an environment that supports unlimited vacation is a crucial one. It necessitates that managers have a handle on the value stream and the ability to establish multiple workaround paths and redundancies to ensure work continues no matter who is in the office or on the shop floor. [Read more]

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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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A ROWE & Lean chat on business901.com, and the weekly rewind

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I had a chat with Joe Dager on the business901.com podcast a couple weeks back, and we discussed ROWE and Lean,and where the two approaches line up, and where they differ. Click the link to hear me discuss how what ROWE’s creators advocate might help to expose what Bob Emiliani calls “Fake Lean” or what Mark Graban calls “L.A.M.E” and create better focus for those whose Lean aspiration have gone astray. [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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