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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Hesitant to Move to Improvement Software? You're Not Alone.

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 20, 2017 7:02:00 AM

As a guy that works on the Sales Team at KaiNexus, I often hear a lot of objections about making the the move from paper and pencil, physical boards, and excel spreadsheets to a completely digital system. I understand those objections. As humans, we’re creatures of habit. Change can be difficult, especially moving to something new and unfamiliar.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Common Questions About Strategy Deployment Software

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 18, 2017 3:16:15 PM

Strategy Deployment is a hot topic in continuous improvement circles these days. We’re delighted to see that because effective strategy deployment can make the difference between reaching the goals of the organization in the expected time frame and failing to achieve the breakthrough objectives. Of course, strategy deployment isn’t easy and few companies really excel at the practice. Strategy deployment software has been developed to help provide a structure for the practice and keep organizations on track. We’ve had lots of productive conversations with leaders about how strategy deployment software can help smooth the path to success. Here are the questions that we get asked most often.

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Topics: Software, Strategy Deployment

3 Reasons Kaizen Boards Often Disappoint

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jan 17, 2017 1:20:16 PM

Every time we walk into a facility and see a Kaizen board, we are reminded about the excitement and sense of anticipation that most teams have when the Kaizen board is first introduced. But very often, when we ask front line employees about them the response is tepid at best.

There may still be huddle meetings where the progress of each improvement is discussed, and a card might get moved from one stage to another from time to time, but the initial excitement wanes quickly and the whole thing becomes a chore.

In many cases, we look a little closer and see that no new improvement work has been added for months or that work is stalled out with no movement in sight.

Why is it that an improvement tool that is so popular so often flounders or outright dies? There are a few common reasons.

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How to Increase Your Odds of Sustaining Innovations

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 16, 2017 11:12:45 AM

When I sat down to write about sustaining innovations, the word that popped into my mind was “entropy.” While entropy is a scientific term related to the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity, it is also used to refer to a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder. Entropy is a very real thing in organizations. Practices are implemented and improvements deployed, yet over time, things seem to revert to the way they were always done. The results of change are short-lived and fleeting. It is almost worse to have put the effort and resources into making improvements that don’t last than it is to have never improved at all. Fortunately, entropy is not inevitable.  It can be avoided with a few key measures.

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Topics: Innovation Software

How to Lead an Improvement Culture without Being a Huge Jerk

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 13, 2017 10:52:11 AM

A common mistake companies make when rolling out a new culture of continuous improvement is to fail to provide leadership training to the people leading it. When you're responsible for leading a cultural transformation, there are a lot of unique leadership skills that you need to employ.

You need to be firm and empathetic, have high but reasonable expectations, communicate effectively, be present - the list goes on and on. It's a hard balance to strike, particularly for people who don't have a lot of experience in a leadership position to fall back on. As such, many leaders cave under the pressure and are either too hesitant to be effective or else become huge jerks that no one likes or respects.

Here are some tips for how to be a strong leader without being a jerk:

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Topics: Leadership

How Workflow Software Accelerates Improvement

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jan 11, 2017 8:40:00 AM

Once organizations realize the value of daily continuous improvement and learn to leverage employee ideas for innovation, they often turn their focus to how to accelerate the pace of improvement.

There are many ways that teams can get the most out of their improvement efforts. Workflow software is one tool that helps companies manage more improvement projects at the same time and pave a faster path to tangible results.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

5 Ways to Strengthen a Kaizen Culture

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jan 10, 2017 1:26:23 PM

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “culture” as, “The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization; the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time.” Organizations interested in achieving continuous improvement through the practice of Kaizen could do no better than to make it a “characteristic feature of everyday existence.” That requires building and maintaining a Kaizen Culture.

There’s another interesting thing about the definition of the word culture. It shares a root with the word “cultivate,” which means, “to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care, or study.” Cultivation requires intent, action, and attention. Kaizen culture does as well.

There are a number of things that successful leaders do to instill a Kaizen culture and keep it healthy.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture

Strategy Deployment Fail: Don’t Let This Happen to You

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 9, 2017 11:40:12 AM

I got a call from a good friend recently. She’s the CEO of a mid-sized technology company in Idaho. She’s almost always upbeat and full of energy, but on this day, she was obviously down. When I asked what was wrong she told me a sad tale indeed. Earlier in the day, at one of her company’s regular monthly meetings, she decided to offer a $100 bill to the first employee who could name all four of the company’s top-level strategic goals. What she got was crickets. Not a single person could name them all and few could come up with any of them at all. Ouch.

My friend is good at her job. The company is successful and her employees respect and trust her. “How could this have happened?” she asked.  I won’t get into the specifics of her situation, but this problem happens more frequently than you might expect. Leaders craft a strategy and announce it, but it just doesn’t permeate the organization. Here are some of the most common reasons that strategy deployment fails.

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Topics: Strategy Deployment

We Wish People Enjoyed Their Work More - Let's Work on That!

Posted by Mark Graban

Jan 6, 2017 7:18:00 AM

Since the earliest days of my career, I’ve been fascinated by the reasons why people are upset with their jobs or are miserable at work. I’ve often been saddened that people spend so many hours and such a high percentage of their lives in a workplace they don’t like.

I’ve been fortunate to have jobs that have been engaging and interesting. I’ve generally liked my work, even if there have been frustrating times of my own.

I’ve been blogging over at LeanBlog.org for a long time - since 2005. In fact, I started the blog during a phase when I was somewhat bored and disengaged by my workplace (my last manufacturing job before getting into healthcare).

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The Importance of an End-to-End Lean Journey

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 5, 2017 8:05:00 AM


Take a step back to think about your organization.

Think about all the points of contact that customers go through with your company throughout their time in your sales pipeline and then as customers. Smart organizations realize that every one of these points of contact, frequently called touchpoints, are extremely important and valuable. Whether it's the first time you talk to someone, a customer changing their service, or a prospect buying your product, every touchpoint a person goes through shapes the way they feel about your company and influences their lifetime value. 

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