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Don’t Leave Your Visual Management Abilities in the Car

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 25, 2016 7:00:00 AM

The human brain processes visual images much more easily than it can text. That’s because processing visual information is innate. A newborn baby understands the image of its mother long before it has a clue what the word mama means. This is a good thing in an evolutionary sense, of course. You don’t have to have a word for "bear" to know that you should get the heck away from it.  

People have long used our ability to so easily process visual information to help us do things that otherwise would be very difficult or dangerous. Take driving a car for instance.

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Topics: Leadership

9 Reasons to Invest in a Lean Management System

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 23, 2016 8:30:00 AM

The Lean business management approach is comprised of a set of techniques and tools designed to achieve the maximum delivery of value to the customer with as little waste as possible. Lean practitioners strive to get the customer what (and only what) they want, exactly when they want it. Lean management systems are technologies that help make this possible. Sure, you can practice Lean without software to support the effort, but organizations that have leveraged technology built for this purpose have found it to be well worth the investment.

Here are 9 of the reasons why:

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Topics: Lean

Continuous Improvement Inspiration from Rio

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 22, 2016 12:57:33 PM

The Olympic games are winding down. We sure have been treated to some amazing performances. Watching Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and all the other incredible athletes, one can’t help but wonder, "How is that possible? How can a human being achieve such near-perfection?" Surely genetics plays a role, but there’s something even more important at work here - the simple drive to improve.

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Topics: Daily Improvement

5 Situations that Call for a Kaizen Event

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 19, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The best way to implement and sustain improvement within an organization is to practice daily Kaizen. This means capturing and executing opportunities to improve every day of the week and every week of the year. It also means empowering the entire organization from the C-suite to the front line to contribute to positive change.

Kaizen events may seem antithetical to this approach, but they actually make a great companion to daily improvement. While holding a Kaizen event once or twice a year without the underlying culture and daily focus on improvement is unlikely to result in lasting change, using them in the right situations can give your business results a boost and accelerate your improvement journey.  

Here are a few examples of when Kaizen events are very effective and impactful.

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Topics: Kaizen

The Cause and Cost of Silence in a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 18, 2016 7:00:00 AM

As the 2016 KaiNexus User Conference nears and we start planning who to invite to present, I went back through our video archives and found the recording of one of last year’s keynote speakers, Ethan Burris, UT Professor and Researcher, in his presentation on The Cause and Cost of Silence. I feel like it’s being wasted, languishing in the archives, so I’m pulling it out to share with all of you.

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Should You Be Using PDSA or DMAIC?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

When it comes to continuous improvement techniques, you have many options. There are a variety of approaches and tools designed to support your effort to effect positive change. But it can be difficult to decide which techniques will work best. In the case of PDSA and DMAIC, it can be extra confusing because they are quite similar.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma

For the Want of a System Better Than a Sticky Note, a Car Sale Was Lost

Posted by Mark Graban

Aug 16, 2016 7:30:00 AM

Earlier this year, my wife and I decided to replace her 2008 vehicle. She still loved it and it drove well, but out-of-warranty repair costs were starting to add up. No, it wasn’t from the Toyota family of vehicles, but that’s a different story.

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Everything You Want to Know about Hoshin Kanri, but Are Afraid to Ask

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 15, 2016 8:00:00 AM

When I first started thinking and writing about all of the tools and techniques that organizations use to embrace continuous improvement and meet their strategic business goals, I had no idea there was so much to learn. If you are new to the arena of improvement, please don’t feel bad if you are a bit overwhelmed. The goal of this blog is to chip away at some of the confusion and help you find clarity.

One of the terms you may hear is Hoshin Kanri or Hoshin Planning. My first question when I heard the words used was, “Huh?” You probably have smarter questions than that. Let me take a minute to answer a few.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

The Lean Leadership Reading List

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 12, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Maybe it is just me, but I always feel a little caught off guard this time of the year when I walk into Target or the grocery store and see the backpacks, notebooks, and colorful writing implements so prominently on display. The back-to-school shopping season is the first reminder that the summer won’t last forever.

This year it also reminded me that although grownups don’t go “back to school,” every year, we should invest in ourselves by continuing to learn. We can increase our effectiveness and value by learning new things and looking at familiar ideas with a fresh perspective. For those interested in Lean Leadership, there are just a few books by distinguished authors that might introduce some new ways of thinking about your approach to improvement. Here are some that earned five-star reviews... just a few of the books you might want to have on your shelf or e-Reader.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

Think You Are Credible? Think Again.

Posted by Mark Jaben

Aug 11, 2016 7:30:00 AM

When it comes to gaining traction for a change in an organization, credibility trumps reason. Establishing such credibility demands we are neither deceptive with the language, data, and metrics we choose, nor coercive with the standards being implemented.

When leading any change effort, no matter if you are a senior executive, a middle manager, or front line staff, the key to establishing yourself as credible is this: those being asked to change have to see that, even while dealing with your own concerns, you have a sincere interest in dealing with theirs as well. Most people believe they act with the best of intentions and motives, even if others may not be doing the same. In reality, (most) people don't intend to be deceptive or coercive, but may inadvertently or unintentionally do so given the way they deal with language, data, metrics, and standards. Because they were well intentioned, this person then may not understand why their change efforts are unsuccessful.

But recall, you don’t determine how credible you are on a given topic: others decide that based on how you act in that circumstance. A history of acting credibly in previous situations helps to establish trust in your motives, but it does not automatically confer credibility in the current circumstances. Of course, previous experience when you have not been credible puts you behind the eight ball starting off. Unless you are aware of this reality, it is incredibly easy to be inadvertently deceptive or unintentionally coercive despite your  best intentions. The effect is the same whether or not you were deceptive and coercive on purpose.

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Topics: Leadership