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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Jeff Roussel

As the Vice President of Sales at KaiNexus, Jeff Roussel is responsible for all aspects of sales and leads. He is fanatical about building a team that demonstrates the business value and fit of the KaiNexus solutions. With more than 15 years of sales and leadership experience in enterprise software, Jeff brings a wealth of guidance to our growing company and market. Prior to KaiNexus, Jeff was one of the first enterprise directors at Spredfast, helping organizations create great social media experiences for their customers. Previously, he was a sales engineer and an account executive at Invodo and Postini, the latter of which was acquired by Google in 2007. Jeff also maintains a position on the board of advisors for the Austin-based social media agency Social Distillery. A Texan by choice, Jeff maintains his Louisiana roots with a love of cooking, and he spends his free time with his wife and three step-kids. Jeff has an MBA from St. Edwards University in Austin and a bachelor of science from LSU.
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Recent Posts

15 Leadership Skills That Build Trust

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 4, 2020 10:30:00 AM

Last week we wrote about how distrust is a barrier to change. This post outlines some of the leadership skills and behavior known to increase trust and employee engagement. You probably do some of these things really well already, but perhaps the list will remind you where improvement is still needed. This is also a useful list to share with those who are just beginning to develop their leadership skills.

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Topics: Leadership

Gemba Walk Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 18, 2020 12:25:20 PM

Gemba Walks are an important part of many continuous improvement initiatives. They are designed to offer leaders the opportunity to observe work and talk with employees in the place where the work is being done, and it provides insight into current processes and opportunities for improvement.

Although some companies are still primarily remote right now, it's important that you continue to utilize this valuable improvement tool. There are ways to adapt the Gemba walking technique to support a virtual environment. For example, incorporate video conferencing to replace the typical face-to-face interaction. When your team sees you on video, they know that they have your undivided attention. You can find additional tips on how and why to walk the Gemba when everyone is working form home here.

Whether your Gemba Walks are virtual or in person, there are a few best practices to follow and a few pitfalls to avoid.

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Topics: Lean

The Interviewer’s Guide to Hiring for a Kaizen Culture

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 16, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Organizations that practice kaizen work hard to maintain a culture centered around continuous improvement. The best defense against push back and poor engagement is hiring only those employees who are likely to thrive in a culture of positive change.

Ideally, the conversation about continuous improvement will begin the moment a candidate is considered. Talking about the principles of kaizen during the interview will show the potential hire how important it is to the organization. The right questions can help you identify those who will do well in your organization and those who should look elsewhere.

Here are a few questions that will give you insight into how the candidate thinks.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture

Avoiding the 8 Wastes of Lean While Working from Home

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 27, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Millions of workers across the globe have suddenly transitioned to working from home. There are many practical and physiological challenges to this abrupt change, so give yourself a break if everything hasn’t been smooth sailing.

Fortunately, the continuous improvement principles that help us be efficient in the office apply in much the same way at home. The eight wastes of Lean, for example, create friction and lower productivity for remote workers as much as they do on a factory floor.

Here are some ideas for spotting and eliminating them while working from home.

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Topics: Lean, Lean Software

How (and Why) to Walk the Gemba When Everyone’s Working from Home

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 8, 2020 9:16:00 AM

As leaders, managers, and employees alike all grapple with the sudden disruption in routine work and life, go easy on yourself. It is going to take some time to adapt. Processes and tools that worked well in the first few months of the year will need to be adjusted, particularly if your team is now all working from home.

Gemba Walks are the perfect example. (If you are unfamiliar with Gemba walks, here’s a good introduction.) If your employees are working from home and practicing physical distancing, you can’t possibly go to the place where work is done.

But Gemba walks are such a valuable improvement tool, and if ever there was a time for identifying ways to make processes run better, this is it. Although the situation isn’t necessarily ideal, there are ways to adapt the Gemba walking technique and still enjoy the many benefits. Here are a few tips.

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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Gemba Walk

Continuous Improvement in Golf [COVID-19]

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Apr 1, 2020 10:00:00 AM

This post is about improvement and its role in a crisis. But I’m choosing a subject matter that has nothing to do with essential services. I realize that everyone has something they really miss about the way the world worked before this crisis became such a battle. 

For me, I really miss sports. 

I grew up playing sports, and they are still a big part of my exercise routines to this day. I have a few teams that I have rooted for since I was young - LSU Tigers, New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta Braves. 

Growing up, one of my clearest memories was watching the Saints play during Sunday lunch as a family, and even today, my entire family wears purple and gold everywhere we go. Heck, I still remember when the cable company trenched our backyard in the early 80s and TBS showed almost every Braves game.

More than anything though, I miss watching my children (and children everywhere) compete. My family has progressed through baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, and volleyball, and I can certainly attest that watching children compete is one of the purest forms of both anxiety and joy there is. Sports represent some of the best memories of my life, and I’m looking forward to a day when sports can be played freely and joyously again.

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21 Employee Engagement Activities that Work

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Mar 6, 2020 4:35:05 PM

Whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000, coming up with ideas to keep everyone connected and engaged can be a challenge. It’s easy to fall back on the same old employee engagement programs, but they tend to lose their effectiveness with too much repetition. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Here are 21 employee engagement activities you can use as inspiration.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Checklist for Planning an Awesome Kaizen Event

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Feb 12, 2020 8:55:43 AM

Kaizen events are an effective tool for harnessing the innovative ideas and creativity of your workforce to implement rapid improvement in a specific area of the organization. In the literature about Kaizen events, a lot of emphasis is put on the event itself, but we have found that often the difference between success and failure is actually the pre-event planning phase. Here are some critical items that should be part of your event preparation.

 

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Topics: Kaizen

5 Easy Improvement Ideas to Get Ready for 2020

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 27, 2019 11:14:00 AM

I’m not sure about you, but at this time of the year, I don’t feel like tackling any major new projects. There seem to be a ton of interruptions, people are in and out of the office, and it is just harder to focus with holiday thoughts on the brain. On the other hand, these next couple of weeks present an opportunity to do a few self-contained improvement projects that can tee up 2020 and help you enjoy the holidays knowing you’re ready to rock the new year.

Here are a few ideas. If you tackle any one of them, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something useful amid all of the year-end excitement.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

Easy-to-Try Process Improvement Examples

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jul 10, 2019 7:32:00 AM

When people talk about business process improvement, the conversation can get very far into the weeds quickly. There are several overarching approaches to business management like Six Sigma and Lean, and then there are more acronyms describing tools and techniques then you can shake a stick at. We’re not putting them down. DMAIC, PDSA, 5S, 5G, 5W1H, 4M1D, and all the rest are really effective ways to structure improvement and problem-solving. However, if you are new to the notion of process improvement, we don’t blame you if you find the jargon confusing. We’re probably guilty of getting too technical too quickly in this space from time to time, so today we’re going to keep it simple and ban the industry terms.

You don’t have to be a continuous improvement black belt to begin implementing positive change in your organization. Here are a few process improvement examples that are good starting points.

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Topics: Improvement Process

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