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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Continuous Quality Improvement is Hard to Sustain. We Know Why.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Feb 25, 2020 12:23:46 PM

Has your organization started a quality improvement program with great fanfare and a ton of enthusiasm only to see it peter out over time? If so, you are not alone. Starting down the path to continuous improvement is easy. Sustaining momentum is not.

This post examines some of the most common reasons that CI programs go off the rails and how you can avoid or recover from them.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Good processes create good results. Simple, but not easy.

Posted by Adam Darnell

Feb 19, 2020 9:23:37 AM

We’re pretty sure that almost all business leaders, managers, and front-line workers want to create high-quality products and services that customers value consistently in the most cost-effective manner. But that isn’t always what happens, of course. While we know that good processes lead to good results, implementing and maintaining them is easier said than done.

Since we get to chat with folks about process improvement so often, we can share some of the reasons that processes break down and what you can do to avoid experiencing them.

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4 Strategies to Improve Cross Functional Collaboration

Posted by Allan Wilson

Feb 18, 2020 11:36:21 AM

Many business leaders see cross functional collaboration as the key to innovation and optimal business performance. Almost everyone agrees that it's good to have more cross functional collaboration, but not every business has devoted the effort to creating conditions that are likely to result in more of it. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few simple strategies that can help set the stage for a more cohesive relationship between various parts of the organization.

 

Involve Influencers

In most organizations, there are a number of individuals who are natural connectors. To borrow a word from junior high, these employees are “popular.” They are the perfect individuals to involve in your cross functional collaboration efforts because it likely comes naturally to them, and because where they go, others will follow. If you are creating a cross-functional team to solve a particular problem, for example, be sure to include one or more influencers.

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Topics: Collaboration

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

What if Your Team Isn't Finding New Opportunities for Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 11, 2020 7:15:00 AM

The topic of this blog is a question that we get quite often. Teams will implement a continuous improvement program with much enthusiasm and tons of activity, but over time, the momentum slows, and new opportunities for improvement come less and less frequently. If you are in this boat, you are definitely not alone.

Because so many folks have experienced and talked to us about this, we have some advice.

Let's start with two things not to do.

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Topics: Improvement Process

Put Your Suggestion Box Online to Help Avoid Becoming The Office?

Posted by Matt Banna

Feb 3, 2020 10:40:48 AM

If the internet is any clue, I’m not the only one who was prompted by its 10th anniversary to re-watch a bunch of old episodes of The Office.

(For fans, there’s a great new podcast called Office Ladies featuring Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela). They walk through each episode sharing the inside scoop.)

There’s an episode during the second season in which Dunder Mifflin Paper Company’s branch manager, Michael Scott, learns that his boss is coming for a visit later that day to hear his ideas on how to make the branch perform better.

Of course, he’s Michael Scott, so he has no idea how to make the branch perform better. In a panic, he remembers that there is a suggestion box for collecting employee ideas for improvement. He figures that is the solution to his situation. He calls all of the employees into the conference room and opens the box.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Suggestion Systems, Improvement Culture

7 Proactive Ways to Improve Workplace Culture and Engagement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 28, 2020 3:27:46 PM

While it is a little dated, The Deloitte University Press Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report has probably the most useful definition of culture and engagement that we’ve seen. The report notes that “Culture describes the way things work around here, while engagement describes how people feel about the way things work around here.”

That simple statement explains why a Dennison Consulting study found that organizations with thriving cultures have a 72% higher engagement rate than those without.

What’s shocking, given that 85% of the 7,000 plus executives Deloitte surveyed ranked engagement as a top priority, is that fewer than one in three executives reported that they understand their organizations’ culture.

If you want to move the lever on engagement, you must address culture, but how?

Here are seven things that leaders can do to start changing “the way things work around here.”

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Operational Excellence

What if There Was a Red Carpet for Positive Change?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 21, 2020 11:02:21 AM

It’s that time of year when all of the celebrities get dressed to the nines and viewers at home sit back and root for the movies, shows, and stars they love best. Hollywood enjoys its season of recognizing the outstanding work of the past year and acknowledging the contributions of people who aren’t always in front of the camera.

That got us thinking. If Hollywood can congratulate itself, why can’t there be a pause to show appreciation for everyone in our organizations who helped to make 2019 a little bit better? If there were a red carpet for positive change, what awards should be presented?

Here’s what we came up with.

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Employee Engagement Ideas to Try in the New Year

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jan 16, 2020 8:00:00 AM

It’s hard to believe that 2020 is upon us already. The turn of the year is a time when business leaders and managers tend to reflect on the past twelve months and think about what could be even better in the months to come. It’s normal to focus on the financial metrics and goals, but the level of employee engagement should not be overlooked as you start to map out 2020.

Why?

According to one study, in the U.S, disengaged employees cost organizations around $450-550 billion each year. That costly disengagement is widespread. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace, only 15 percent of employees are engaged in the workplace. Yep. 85% of workers are doing only what it takes to get through work each day. On the other hand, that same study showed that organizations with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable.

The good news is that improving employee engagement isn’t impossible or even expensive. There are simple things you can do to shift your culture toward a more emotionally invested workforce. Here are some things to consider trying in 2020.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Three Insights Into Operational Excellence

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 15, 2020 1:32:07 PM

The Shingo Institute is a program in the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. It is named after Dr. Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese industrial engineer, and Toyota advisor. Dr. Shingo is recognized as one of the world’s thought leaders in terms of improvement techniques, management systems, and business culture concepts. His work contributed to the Toyota Production System. The Shingo Institute is known for it’s Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that fosters continuous improvement. Business Week once called it the “Noble Prize of Improvement.”

Drawing from Dr. Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations worldwide, the Shingo Institute developed the Shingo Model™, which introduces the Shingo Guiding Principles that outline the path to enterprise excellence.

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Topics: Operational Excellence

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